Rubio Moves To The Head Of The GOP Class In 2016 Senate Race
WASHINGTON – To the surprise of no one Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced today he will run for re-election to a second term, reversing his prior pledge that he would not try to return to the Senate if he lost his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Rubio, dropped out of the presidential race after the presumptive GOP Donald Trump thrashed him in Florida’s March 15 primary. The junior Senator from Florida made his announcement this morning In an 18-paragraph statement posted on Twitter, Rubio said there’s “too much at stake.”
“Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida,” he said. “That means the future of the Supreme Court will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the future of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the direction of our country’s fiscal and economic policies will be determined by this Senate seat. The stakes for our nation could not be higher.”
His entry into the race comes shortly before a Friday deadline for candidate filings and after weeks of pressure from national GOP figures who urged Rubio to reconsider his frequently repeated intention to either become president or a “private citizen” come 2017.
Those entreaties were rooted in blunt political reality: Rubio, with his near-universal name recognition and proven fundraising capacity, would give Republicans their best chance of winning the swing-state seat and, perhaps, the Senate majority.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who played a leading role in persuading Rubio to run, smiled Wednesday morning when he was asked about reports that Rubio would enter the race: “If that were to happen, that would be a great outcome.” He said Rubio’s entry would move the seat from a likely loss for Republicans into “likely retention.”
Rubio cited a sense of duty to try to remain in office under either President Donald Trump or President Hillary Clinton — two candidates he considers mediocre.
“No matter who’s elected president, there’s reason to worry. If it’s Hillary Clinton, you know we’re going to have four more years of the same failed economic policies, four more years of the same failed foreign policy,” he told the Miami Herald. “The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me in many ways. It’s no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald.”
Speaking with POLITICO, Rubio didn’t shy away from directly criticizing the Trump for drawing attention to the Mexican heritage of an Indiana-born judge who’s presiding over a civil-fraud trial against Trump University.
“All I can tell you is that they’re not comments that I agree with. They went beyond the pale. I think that that judge is fully American whose experience is not unlike mine,” Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said when asked about Trump’s comments concerning the judge
Rubio’s announcement quickly upended the GOP primary contest to replace him: One of his would-be rivals, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, immediately left the race. Another, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, could do the same and run for the House again. Two other competitors, Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando defense contractor Todd Wilcox, remain — though Rubio becomes the instant front-runner.
A Rubio nomination would pose a stiffer challenge to the leading Democratic candidates, U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, who so far had benefited from the lack of a GOP leader. Rubio’s decision came within hours of the release of a new Quinnipiac University poll that showed that in the crowded Republican field, Rubio was the only chance the GOP had of defeating Democrats Murphy or Grayson.
Murphy quickly accused Rubio of playing politics with the crucial seat.
“Marco Rubio abandoned his constituents, and now he’s treating them like a consolation prize,” the Jupiter congressman said in a statement. “Unlike Marco Rubio, I love working hard every single day for the people of Florida. From missing the most votes of any Florida senator in nearly 50 years, to seeking to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, to repeatedly voting against closing the terrorist gun loophole, Rubio is proving he is only out for himself.”
Grayson’s campaign manager, Mike Ceraso, said in a statement that the Orlando congressman “welcomes the change to beat basically two Do Nothing Republicans on Patrick Murphy and No Show Marco this fall.”
Some quotes used in this story were from the Associated Press and the Miami Herald – Video used was from N