Biden, Dem leaders join Hochul in bid to lift her stalling gubernatorial campaign
TAMPA — U.S. Rep. Wasserman Schultz and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Linda Hartman agreed to a meeting Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden in Tampa to advance her stalled general election campaign, just as Democrats who want to see Rep. Patrick Murphy step aside have urged him to step aside.
The meeting between the two leaders on what’s expected to be a daylong trip to the city was the first time that Democrats who have been pushing Murphy out of the race joined with Hochul, the Republican challenging her, to ask for her to step aside.
“There are a lot of things moving against them right now and they need to see the facts,” Hochul said of his Democratic rivals.
There are other candidates too, including Rep. David Jolly, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and St. Petersburg Commissioner Pete Ricketts, who could also enter the race.
But most of the candidates who are in the race are more interested in trying to win than see Murphy step down because they know he will win a special election in May and then return to Washington in a new role as one of the chamber’s most powerful lawmakers.
“I think everybody wants to get out there and do whatever they can, but the idea of me doing something that would change the dynamic in Florida and get things moving would be a long shot,” said Hochul, who will be in Washington until Jan. 21.
He and Murphy, the Democratic former U.S. Senate nominee whom Republicans have vowed to defeat, spent Sunday night in a Tampa hotel room discussing a possible agreement that would leave the congressman as the official nominee.
The two leaders, speaking by phone from the room, said they discussed a number of issues that affect Murphy, but they did not offer specifics.
Jolly said he believes he will face no more than two-dozen Democrat primary challengers due to his age and lack of name recognition and that his campaign could survive an