POLITICS

Marco Rubio jumping into U.S. Senate race in Florida

Republican senator explains to Chris Wallace why he changed his mind

 

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to make official later on Wednesday that he is seeking re-election to the Senate.

This marks a reversal from the Republican’s vow during his presidential campaign last year that he would not run for the Senate again.

Rubio said that the idea of either Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton – neither of whom he embraces – becoming U.S. president persuaded him to run for the Senate again.

“No matter who’s elected president, there’s reason to worry. If it’s Hillary Clinton, you know we’re going to have four more years of the same failed economic policies, four more years of the same failed foreign policy,” he told the Miami Herald. “The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me in many ways. It’s no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald.”

Rubio, 45, dropped out of the presidential race on March 15 after an embarrassing loss to Trump in the Florida primary.

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For a time during the campaign, establishment Republicans rallied around Rubio, who has demonstrated an ability to work across party lines, in an attempt to derail Trump’s march to the nomination.

But Rubio, who generally was a strong performer in GOP televised debates, an artful speaker and telegenic, could not parlay those strengths into votes during the primaries.

On a national level, Republicans have pushed for Rubio to run for re-election out of worry that they will lose control in the Senate to Democrats in the November election.

The deadline for the Aug. 30 primary in Florida is Friday.

“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,there’s another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important in the years to come,” Rubio said, according to the Herald. “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’s two expected rivals for the GOP nomination, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, are likely to withdraw now that he is officially running, the Herald reported.

Staying in the GOP race are Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando defense contractor Todd Wilcox.

The Herald noted that if Rubio becomes the official GOP nominee for the Senate, the competition would get more intense for Democrats U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.

Rubio came under fire during the presidential campaign by fellow Republicans for missing Senate votes in order to campaign for the Oval Office.

His one-time mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who also ran for president, accused Rubio during GOP debates of failing to show up to do the job that state voters elected him to do.

Rubio also had said at the time that he no longer enjoyed being in the Senate, something – along with missing votes – that rivals may yet use against him in the race for the upper chamber.

At just 45, Rubio may well run again for president, many political experts say.

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