By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBBSMiami/CNN) – Florida Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy said she is seriously considering a run against Senator Marco Rubio in 2022.

But before she makes her decision, she’ll launch a listening tour on issues like the pandemic, “managing misinformation,” and climate change.

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Murphy, co-chair of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats, hopes that by emphasizing a bipartisan background she can appeal to a state that has elected Republicans to the Senate in 2016 and 2018 and twice supported former President Donald Trump.

Murphy has hired Lauren Calmet, the former political director of the Florida Democratic Party, to organize her new initiative, called “Cast Forward,” and has talked with Georgia’s Stacey Abrams about how to rebuild Florida’s party’s infrastructure.

“I firmly believe that Florida is not a red state; it’s a hard state,” Murphy told CNN in an interview. “You have to have the right money, message, and machine to compete and after a few disappointing election cycles, it’s clear that we’ve fallen short.”

She added she wanted to lay “the foundation for Democrats winning in 2022.”

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When Murphy was a baby, her family fled Communist Vietnam and was rescued by the US Navy. She emphasized her story as a refugee in a new video, saying that her parents “sacrificed an awful lot in escaping socialism” and said that she is “a proud capitalist and a proud Democrat” fighting for a fairer economy.

The comments indicated she took to heart the 2020 loss of two House Democrats representing South Florida, former Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, whom Republicans attacked as socialists who were weak on Cuba and Venezuela.

In the interview, Murphy also previewed a potential attack against Rubio, a two-term senator.

“I think the challenge for Rubio is that he’s made it apparent to everybody that the only person he cares about is himself,” she said. “He’ll do anything or say anything to stay in power and I think that’s unfortunate.”

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In response, a Rubio campaign spokesman touted Rubio’s accomplishments, noting that the senator helped craft the Paycheck Protection Program last year to aid small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, helped expand the child tax credit in 2017 and secured millions for Everglades restoration. The spokesman also noted that the Lugar Center rated him one of the top 10 bipartisan senators in 2019.

CBSMiami.com Team