Florida Sen. Marco Rubio got booed off a stage in Orlando on Sunday, by a crowd that was overwhelmingly Latino. It happened at Calle Orange, a street festival in downtown Orlando geared toward the city’s large Puerto Rican community. The icy reception was an indication of the challenges that Rubio, a Republican of Cuban heritage, has faced in locking down support from Latinos in Florida as the state’s Latino electorate has begun to shift to the left.
At first, there was no visible hostility toward Rubio when he arrived at the festival on Sunday. He was greeted by a group of volunteers wearing Rubio campaign t-shirts and playing Plena, a rhythmic style of music native to Ponce, Puerto Rico. The musicians accompanied Rubio as he and his aides walked toward the stage. He stopped for selfies along the way. But when he took the stage, there was spattering of boos from the crowd. And when the emcee introduced the senator, they grew louder.
“I’m going to introduce a man who represents Latinos, no matter where you’re from,” the emcee boomed in Spanish. The boos grew louder still. “Ladies and gentlemen, the senator for the state of Florida, a Latino like you and me … his name is Marco Rubio! Applaud!” Instead, the boos rained down on the senator, drowning out what appeared to be a handful of supporters in the crowd.
Rubio currently leads Patrick Murphy by about three points. The clip below was posted yesterday to Murphy’s YouTube channel.