• Sen. Marco Rubio slammed Democrats as out of touch during a major fundraiser. 
  • "The Democratic party today is controlled by highly educated, affluent liberals," he said.
  • Rubio is up for reelection in November and is likely to face Democratic Rep. Val Demings. 

HOLLYWOOD, Florida — Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on Saturday fired up GOP political players on Saturday by repeatedly bashing the left flank of the Democratic party.  

"As long as the country is in the hands of Marxist crazies and laptop liberals that work at home in their pajamas, as long as the Democratic Party is controlled by them the only thing they can produce are incompetent leaders that will lead us into crisis after crisis," he said to a packed GOP banquet during the "Victory Dinner" at the Republican Party of Florida's Sunshine Summit. 

During the speech, held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Rubio aimed to draw a contrast between what he called the priorities of "working people" versus "a very small but powerful group of people" in charge.

The Democratic Party's agenda, he said, was "taken over by 2 or 3% of the country," and he called for a "new American majority" as Republicans work to gain control of Congress in November. 

"The Democratic party today is controlled by highly educated, affluent liberals, and a bunch of Marxist misfits," he said. 

Rubio accused the left of being obsessed with "climate hysteria, transgender rights" and trillions of dollars in spending that have been a contributing factor to higher prices. He did not name President Joe Biden or other Democrats in his speech.

Working people, he said, were concerned about invoking "common sense" to issues such as gas, inflation, crime, fentanyl deaths, and illegal immigration.

Republican campaigns, including Rubio's, have been seizing on economic concerns as they make their cases for reelection. Numerous polls shows that such concerns are top of mind for voters.

Rubio is up for reelection in November for a third term and is most likely to face off against Democratic Rep. Val Demings, a former law enforcement officer and police chief whose district includes Orlando. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has not outlined a detailed policy agenda for how Republicans would tackle the various issues facing the economy. Rubio has rolled out proposals aimed at helping families, including a further expansion of the child tax credit. 

But Republicans — particularly at the state level — have weaponized culture war issues such as how race, gender identity, and sexual orientation are taught in schools. Rubio this week called a Senate vote to enshrine same-sex marriage a "waste of our time" and said he would be voting against a bill if it came to the floor. 

"I know plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas prices," he told reporters about the Respect for Marriage Act, saying same-sex marriage wasn't under threat but that he thought the decision should fall to states.

Rubio was among a crowded field of Republicans who sought the GOP nomination for president in 2016, which was ultimately won by former President Donald Trump. Rubio did not mention Trump during his speech nor single out his likely Democratic challenger. 

Demings has outraised Rubio $43 million to $35 million as of the first half of 2022, but Florida has been trending Republican with an edge of 220,000 registered votes and Rubio has national name recognition. Demings in recent weeks has attacked Rubio over his opposition to abortion in light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Rubio is a veteran in Florida politics and speaks fluent Spanish, having grown up in Miami as the child of working-class Cuban immigrants. By the end of his speech on Saturday, he drew a more optimistic tone, saying that while the US wasn't perfect it was "better than any other nation that has ever existed in the history of mankind." 

Florida Democrats blasted Rubio ahead of the speech with spokesperson Grant Fox warning that Rubio would be delivering "more complaints about his stalling campaign and more desperate pleas for money."

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