Dem blasts 'most homophobic senator' Rubio for 'exploiting' Orlando shooting to run for re-election
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to WFTV-TV on June 6, 2016.

A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate is accusing Florida Republican Marco Rubio of cynically using the Sunday morning mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando as an excuse to run for re-election after losing his presidential bid, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Senate candidate Patrick Murphy condemned Rubio for announcing on Monday -- a day after a shooter killed 49 people at Pulse night club -- that he would reconsider running for Senate even after previously saying he was leaving. Murphy said Rubio was one of the country's most homophobic senators.

"I cannot tell you how many phone calls I've received just in the last 48 hours about how appalled people are, especially, especially my friends -- our friends -- in the LGBT community," Murphy said when asked by reporters whether he thought Rubio was exploiting the tragedy. "Many of which are actually Republican, right now calling me and saying, 'this is atrocious, this is despicable' that a senator who is one of the most homophobic senators in this country, someone who voted to keep this terrorist gun loophole open, who has a 100 percent voting record with the NRA, I think -- and now all of a sudden is going to use this horrific mass shooting, this act of terrorism, this hate crime to decide to run for the U.S. Senate? "

Rubio's spokesman did not respond to requests for comment from the Times.

"Look at his voting record," Murphy continued. "But what's appalling is not that he's the most homophobic senator but that he's now using this tragedy, targeting the LGBT community ... as an excuse, an epiphany now, that he's going to run for the Senate."