Facing the probability of losing control of the upper chamber of Congress, Senate GOP leaders are mobilizing to coax incumbent Florida Senator Marco Rubio to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election of his seat, set to expire at the end of 2016.
Rubio admitted he has been approached by Senate colleagues hoping to entice him to weigh his options and consider an effort to hold his seat.
Likely GOP nominee and former Rubio foe Donald Trump tweeted “Run Marco” Thursday.
Poll data shows that @marcorubio does by far the best in holding onto his Senate seat in Florida. Important to keep the MAJORITY. Run Marco!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2016
Mr. Rubio stated in April 2014 he would not pursue both the Senate and the White House in 2016; one year later, Rubio, then seeking the GOP nomination, said he would not seek re-election to the Senate even if he were fail to become the GOP nominee.
Responding to overtures from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and a press release from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) referring to Rubio as a “very valuable member of the Senate,” Rubio averred:
“I enjoy serving with my colleagues, I respect them very much, I’ll always listen to what they have to say, but you know, I don’t think anything’s going to change.”
Although Mr. Rubio ended his bid to win the GOP nomination on March 15, he has maintained he has no desire to return to Congress.
Florida’s Senate race is competitive with Democratic Representatives Alan Grayson, who represents the Sunshine State’s ninth district, and Patrick Murphy, who represents Florida’s eighteenth district. Murphy is favored to win the nomination.
Unlike the Democratic primary, the GOP field is crowded: Led by current Florida Lieutenant Governor, Carlos López-Cantera, who appears to have the strongest backing from elected officials in Florida and in Congress, the race includes Reps. David Jolly of Florida’s thirteenth district, Ron DeSantis of the sixth district and a myriad of businesspersons, law enforcement officials and local legislators.
Although Mr. López-Cantera has secured numerous endorsements, public polling places Mr. Jolly at a slight advantage for the August 30 primary.
Although Senator Rubio has said López-Cantera is a friend, he has not officially endorsed López-Cantera’s bid.
While the race is currently considered a tossup, polls indicate that if Rubio ran again he would be the overwhelming favorite to retain the seat for Republicans in November.
[Politico] [AP] [CNN]