Sen. Marco Rubio is trying to prepare supporters and the media for a long, drawn out election fight where no one wins the nomination outright.
“This is just a very different election year,” he said, according to NBC News. “This is going to take a long time. I don’t think anyone has a clear path to 1,237 delegates.
The Rubio campaign has struggled to pull itself out of a tailspin after winning only one state on Super Tuesday, and falling into third place in the race for delegates.
According to Real Clear Politics, Rubio has 151 delegates while Ted Cruz has 300, and Donald Trump leads with 384.
“Buckle up your seat belts — this ride has got a few more tricks and turns,” Rubio said.
The latest drama hitting the Rubio campaign was a CNN report citing campaign staff and advisers suggesting that the Florida Senator drop out of the race before Florida, in the hopes of salvaging his political career. Campaign staff angrily lashed out against the report while communications director Alex Conant went on the network to angrily denounce the story.
Florida’s closed primary in a winner-take-all state will award 99 delegates — a much sought-after prize in the delegate hunt.
Rubio is desperate for a win in his home state in the hopes that it will breathe life into his campaign. He’s prevailed only in Minnesota thus far. But Ted Cruz’s campaign has also signaled interest in competing with Rubio.
Speaking with reporters, Rubio warned Floridians not to vote for Cruz or Kasich.
“Here in Florida, if you vote for John Kasich or Ted Cruz you are voting for Donald Trump. I am the only one that can beat him in Florida,” he said. “I am the only one that can stop him here.”