Two other GOP candidates depart race after Rubio’s decision
MIAMI (CFP) — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio will seek re-election to the Senate this fall, reversing an earlier decision to leave political office after his unsuccessful presidential campaign.
After Rubio announced his decision June 22, two Republicans currently running for his seat, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Florida Lieutenant Governor Carlos López-Cantera, announced they would drop out in deference to Rubio. DeSantis will now run for re-election in Florida’s 6th District.
In a statement announcing his change of heart, Rubio, who had been under pressure from national Republican leaders to run, said he was swayed by the prospect that “the outcome in Florida could determine control of the Senate.”
“That means the future of the Supreme Court will be determined by the Florida Senate seat,” he said. “It means the future of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal will be determined by the Florida Senate seat. It means the direction of our country’s fiscal and economic policies will be determined by this Senate seat.”
He said Clinton would continue President Obama’s “failed” economic and foreign policies. As for Trump, Rubio’s former presidential primary foe, the senator said he had “significant disagreements” with the Republican nominee, particularly with regard to his “unacceptable” comments about women and minorities.
“If he is elected, we will need senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him,” Rubio said. “I’ve proven a willingness to do both.”
Rubio also conceded that by changing his mind about seeking re-election, “my opponents will try to use this decision to score political points against me.”
“Have at it, because I have never claimed to be perfect, or to have all the answers.”
Recent polls have shown Rubio running strongest against both of the two major Democrats in the race, U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter and Alan Grayson of Orlando. A recent Quinniapiac University poll, taken before Rubio entered the race, showed him with a 7 point lead over Murphy and an 8 point lead over Grayson, with none of the other Republicans leading in head-to-head match-ups with the Democrats.
Rubio’s entry has scrambled what had been a five-way battle for the Republican nomination. DeSantis, López-Cantera and U.S. Rep. David Jolly have now all departed, leaving Carlos Beruff, a real estate developer from Manatee County, and Todd Wilcox, a defense contractor and former CIA agent from Windemere.
Beruff slammed Rubio’s decision to “break his pledge to the people of Florida.”
“This isn’t Marco Rubio’s seat; this is Florida’s seat,” Beruff said in a statement. “The power brokers in Washington think they can control this race. They think they can tell the voters of Florida who their candidates are. But the voters of Florida will not obey them.”