Because of his failed run for the White House, Sen. Marco Rubio jumped into the race for re-election to the U.S. Senate late, but he’s so far ahead of his Republican competition in Tuesday’s primary that he’s characterizing the day to voters as “practice” for Nov. 8.
The chief primary rival to Rubio, Florida businessman Carlos Beruff, is a staggering 39 percentage points behind the former presidential candidate, according to recent polls.
The Miami Herald noted that Rubio is so far ahead even though the real estate developer has invested $8 million of his personal funds in his campaign and launched a relentless six-week attack – via television ads – against the senator.
Beruff – whose bravado and self-funded campaign has elicited comparisons to GOP presidential nominee and Rubio tormentor, Donald Trump – has been loath to appear defeated.
“I don’t know how to quit,” he said in a recent interview with a Miami Colombian-American media outlet.
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Beruff has been dogged about taking on Rubio since the former presidential contender announced his candidacy in June, after he had said he wasn’t going to seek re-election.
Florida election law doesn't allow a politician to run for two different offices at the same time, so Rubio declared he would not seek re-election to the Senate when he announced his campaign for the presidency. He suspended his presidential campaign in March after losing the Florida primary to Trump.
Months of speculation that Rubio would jump into the senate race in Florida followed, with Rubio officially declaring on June 22.
His change of mind led four other Republicans vying for his seat to withdraw, but Beruff stayed in and redoubled his efforts.
Since announcing Rubio has been the front-runner, and it’s clear that Beruff’s all-out attempt to defeat him in the primary has not hurt the 45-year-old senator, the Herald noted.
Moreover, Beruff didn’t bother campaigning last week, the newspaper said.
Rubio has denied that he is assuming victory in Tuesday’s GOP primary.
“We’ve worked hard, and we don’t take anything for granted,” Rubio said, according to the Miami Herald.
But Rubio is virtually ignoring the fact that he has competition on Tuesday. He rarely mentions the primary, focusing instead on the Nov. 8 election against his likely Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is expected to win the Democratic primary.
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