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Marco Rubio says he’ll leave Senate if he runs for president

Florida Republican, whose seat is up in 2016, says he won’t look for an “exit strategy”

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

florida mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio says that if he runs for president in 2016, he won’t try to simultaneously run for re-election to his Senate seat, which would put him on the political sidelines should his White House bid fall short.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

“I think, by and large, when you choose to do something as big as that, you’ve really got to be focused on that and not have an exit strategy,” the Florida Republican told radio host Hugh Hewitt. He says he won’t make a final decision on which office to seek until next spring.

Florida law currently does not allow a candidate to pursue two offices at once. However, Republicans control the state legislature — where Rubio once served — and the governorship, opening the possibility of changing the law to accommodate the senator.

The most famous case of running for two offices at once came in 1960, when Lyndon Johnson ran for the vice presidency and his Senate seat in Texas. He resigned the seat after winning the vice presidency.

Most recently, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan ran for re-election to his House seat in 2012 while he was also the GOP’s vice presidential nominee. That kept him in Congress after the Romney-Ryan ticket lost.

Another possible 2016 White House hopeful, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, is also up for re-election in 2016. Republicans in the Bluegrass State have been considering changing state law to allow Paul to pursue both offices.

Kentucky currently has a Democratic governor who could stand in the way, although the governorship will be up for election next year.

Paul’s father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, ran for re-election to his House seat in 2008 after ending his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination. However, when he ran again in 2012, he opted not to run for his House seat.




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