With Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy set to meet in Orlando for their first TV debate tonight, Murphy is airing a new ad recalling the Pulse nightclub shooting in that city.
The spot features Christine Leinonen, who lost her son Christopher in the June shooting. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others wounded by heavily armed Omar Mateen, a security guard shot and killed by police. The mass shooting, among the largest in the nation’s history, was called a terrorist hate crime.
“I cannot understand how Marco Rubio would go back to Washington, D.C., and do nothing,” Leinonen says in the ad.
Rubio has said the shooting helped push him toward seeking re-election this year. But Murphy, who has pushed for stricter gun regulations, has criticized Rubio for voting against a Senate measure shortly after the Orlando attack that would have barred those on the federal terrorist watch list from obtaining weapons.
Rubio has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, which has aired TV spots supporting him.