Florida Senator Marco Rubio is starting his political comeback using the same stories, rhetoric, and tactics that caused him to overwhelmingly lose his home state to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump during the March 15 primary.
In a statement posted to his campaign website Rubio explains that he “changed his mind” about running for the Senate and continued to attack Trump on establishment Republican and liberal talking points. Rubio stated Hillary Clinton would be a continuation of the Obama administration but saved his sharpest criticism for the candidate who drubbed him by nearly twenty points in Florida’s presidential primary in March.
“The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me,” Senator Rubio wrote in the statement, “It is no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald Trump. His positions on many key issues are still unknown. And some of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable.”
The fact that Rubio has barely grazed Clinton–but came out guns-a-blazing after Trump–comes as Trump has slipped behind Clinton in Florida polling, and serves only to boost Clinton while nicking Trump in the critical swing state.
Senator Rubio also continued to attack Donald Trump for not adopting the hawkish national security and foreign policy platform preferred by the Republican establishment.
“In the days ahead,” Rubio’s statement said, “America will continue to face serious challenges – the possibility of terrorist attacks at home and abroad, a declining military, anemic economic growth and low wages, assaults on our rights and values, outdated health care, education and pension programs in desperate need of reform – that face backward or uncertain responses from either Clinton or Trump.”
Rubio had previously been adamant that he wouldn’t seek reelection, repeatedly claiming he’d be a private citizen when his Senate term expired in January.
I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 17, 2016
The late announcement dramatically alters what will certainly be one of the most expensive and competitive Senate races in the country. Outside Conservative and Republican spending groups have already invested millions of dollars in the race promoting Congressman Ron DeSantis in a primary that also featured Congressman David Jolly and Florida Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. DeSantis, who has raised more than four million dollars for the race, has recently signaled that he’d clear the way for Senator Rubio.
Democrat Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson are competing in the Democrat primary, with Congressman Murphy largely expected to prevail. Murphy, who defeated former Congressman Allen West to win his congressional seat, is regarded as a rising Democrat star and has raised an astounding amount of money — more than $7 million — in a state with ten major media markets.
Senator Rubio does have some time as the Florida primary will not be held until August 30th.