Republicans pressuring Rubio to reconsider running for Senate re-electionComments Off on Republicans pressuring Rubio to reconsider running for Senate re-election
A growing chorus of prominent Republicans are pressuring Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to reconsider his decision not to run for re-election to the Senate.
- Top Senate Republicans believe Rubio could clear a crowded field
- Deadline to qualify for Senate race is June 24
Rubio made the decision when he launched his ultimately fruitless presidential campaign last year. At the time, the first-term senator said running a parallel re-election effort would distract from his quest for the White House.
With his presidential aspirations dashed, however, Rubio has recently become more assertive in the Senate, taking a leading role in tackling issues ranging from the Zika virus to hurricane preparedness. His renewed engagement in an institution he not long ago dismissed as virtually irrelevant has some political observers wondering if he’s interested in pursuing a second term.
Two of the Senate’s top Republicans, John Cornyn of Texas and Bob Corker of Tennessee, said this week that Rubio should launch a late-stage re-election campaign, if only to help the party avoid troubled waters that could stem from a five-way primary race that has so far failed to produce a breakout candidate. As the incumbent senator with a newly realized national profile, Rubio would conceivably clear the field.
Despite the senator’s turbulent relationship with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, on Thursday Trump tweeted that Rubio "does by far the best in holding onto his Senate seat in Florida. Important to keep the MAJORITY. Run Marco!"
In a Friday interview with CNN, Rubio said he’d "maybe" entertain running if his friend, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, wasn’t running for the seat, as well.
"I can tell you I enjoy public service. If there’s an opportunity to serve again in a way that I feel passionate about, I most certainly think I’d explore it," Rubio said.
With the June 24 deadline to qualify for the race fast approaching, Florida’s junior senator now has some heavy thinking to do, including weighing this year’s political landscape.
"Marco Rubio could certainly save that Senate seat on the Republican side in Republican eyes," Democratic strategist Kevin Cate said. "That seat will still be competitive, it’s a presidential year, Democrats tend to turn out in presidential years, so it’s no sure thing, regardless of whether he jumps back in, which I do not believe he will do."