Marco Rubio Running For Re-election In Florida

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to the media as he urges the United States Congress to pass funding to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus on June 3, 2016 in Doral, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio will seek re-election in Florida.

The Florida senator confirmed reports in an interview with the Miami Herald, citing the importance of holding a Republican Senate majority for his decision.

“I think that the point that really drove me to change my mind is that as we enter this kind of new chapter in our history here is, there’s another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important in the years to come,” Rubio said. “And that’s the power given to it in the Constitution to act as a check and balance on the excess of the president. It’s even more important given the fact that control of the Senate could very well come down to what happens in the Florida race.”

Rubio faces charges of hypocrisy from his opponents after announcing his intentions to run for president and not to run for re-election in Florida.
The Florida Senator discussed his decision in an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace on Wednesday. “I know people in politics don’t like to admit they changed their mind, but I changed my mind,” Rubio said.
He also faces a primary electorate that overwhelmingly chose his opponent Donald Trump for president. But Trump has signaled support for his former opponent he derided as “Little Marco” to run for re-election to his Senate seat.

“Poll data shows that Marco Rubio does by far the best in holding onto his Senate seat in Florida,” he wrote on Twitter in May. “Important to keep the MAJORITY. Run Marco!”

But Rubio distanced himself from Trump in the Miami Herald interview, even though he has committed to backing the controversial billionaire and presumptive Republican nominee for President.

“The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me in many ways,” he said. “It’s no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald.”

Rubio’s announcement will upend the GOP primary contest to replace him: Two would-be rivals, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, are expected to drop out of the race. DeSantis could run for the House again. Two other competitors, Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando defense contractor Todd Wilcox, remain — though Rubio would become the instant front-runner.

A Qunnipiac poll released this morning showed that Rubio currently leads potential Democratic challenger Rep. Patrick Murphy by seven points and Rep. Alan Grayson by eight points. All other Republican primary challengers were polling behind their prospective Democratic challengers.

It is unclear whether all of Rubio’s potential Republican challengers would abandon their campaigns. Rep. David Jolly dropped out of the Florida Senate primary race on Friday. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera have indicated that they would bow out of the race if Rubio ran.