With polls showing Republican U.S. Senate Marco Rubio much stronger with Florida Hispanics, Democratic rival Patrick Murphy announced Thursday he has hired a new strategist to lead media and outreach efforts with these same voters.
Freddy Balsera, who runs Coral Gables-based Balsera Communications, will advise Murphy’s homestretch among Florida Hispanics, who represent almost one-in-five state voters.
“His experience, connections, and skill set will be an invaluable asset to ensure that Florida’s diverse Hispanic communities know Patrick Murphy and what he stands for,” said Josh Wolf, Murphy’s campaign manager.
“Patrick’s message of fighting for immigration reform and strengthening Florida’s middle class continues to resonate with voters and Freddy will help make sure that message reaches Floridians across the state.”
A Suffolk University poll released Thursday shows Rubio leading Murphy by 9 percentage points among all voters in the race. Earlier surveys have shown Rubio, the bilingual son of Cuban immigrants, does well with Hispanic voters and is widely known in the community, while Murphy is struggling to introduce himself.
But Murphy’s support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a $15-an-hour minimum-wage, improved environmental safeguards and stricter background checks on gun purchases are stances shared by many Hispanic voters, giving him an opening with the community in the closing weeks of the Senate race, supporters say.