Florida’s lieutenant governor tells Politico he has urged Rubio to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election
MIAMI (CFP) — Just days before qualifying is set to begin in Florida’s U.S. Senate primary, Lieutenant Governor Carlos López-Cantera has disclosed that if U.S. Senator Marco Rubio decides to run for re-election, he will end his own Senate campaign.
López-Cantera, who got into the Senate race at Rubio’s urging, tells Politico that when he met Rubio at the scene of the Orlando nightclub massacre, he urged Rubio to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election in 2016.
Rubio has been under increasing pressure from Republican Senate leaders to reverse course and run again. But his longtime personal and political friendship with López-Cantera has been seen as an obstacle to any Rubio candidacy.
Rubio gave up his seat to make an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination and has insisted repeatedly that he will not be a Senate candidate. But Florida’s relatively late party primaries, at the end of August, have left him a window of time to change his mind.
Qualifying ends June 24, giving Rubio a little more than a week to make a final decision.
Rubio is seen as the strongest Republican candidate in the Senate race, which Democrats are trying to capture to wrest Senate control away from the GOP. López-Cantera and three Republican rivals have been battling for the nomination; the lieutenant governor is the only one of them who has won statewide.
Jolly opted to take a pass on defending his House seat after a court-ordered redistricting added Democratic voters to what had been a swing district. However, the likely Democratic nominee for that seat is former Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat who lost statewide races in 2010 and 2014.
As the incumbent, Jolly would be in the best position to thwart the political resurrection of Crist, a man roundly despised in Republican circles.