Marco Rubio has announced that he will run for re-election for the Senate seat he originally said he would be giving up. This is welcome news for the Republican party, who will be trying to maintain their hold on the Senate in the November, 2016, election. With Donald Trump’s numbers trending down, many party officials are turning their attention toward the individual races rather than the Presidential race. When asked about his change of mind, Rubio said he simply changed his mind in an interview with CNN.
“I honestly believe that no matter who is elected president we’re going to need a Senate full of people willing to act as a check and balance on the excesses of the next president, and I think given the state of this race we’re going to have a lot of that over the next few years.”
Just last month, Rubio had been continuing to declare that he was not going to be seeking re-election and in the interview confirming the change of heart, he refused to commit to whether he would serve the full six years if re-elected. Facing a primary at the end of August, Rubio going up against wealthy home builder Carlos Beruff, who was quick to point out that this re-election was simply a way of looking ahead to the 2020 election, and not a genuine desire to serve the people of Florida.
While Marco Rubio may be thought as a front-runner in the Senate race, his win is by no means a guarantee. During the Presidential primaries, he was unable to beat Donald Trump in his home state of Florida, and in fact lost by 18 points. He has also given his opponents a lot of material to use against him, with his largely negative comments about the Senate during his Presidential bid.
In a blow to Rubio’s re-election bid, Florida governor Rick Scott announced that he would not be endorsing the incumbent in the upcoming contest. Scott cited his friendship with Beruff, and praised him as being an outsider in politics as one of his selling points.
“The voters of Florida deserve the opportunity to consider his candidacy alongside Senator Rubio and make their own decision. The opinions of the political class in Washington are not relevant to the voters of Florida. Florida Republicans will pick the nominee on their own.”
Marco Rubio also starts off at a disadvantage financially, and campaigns in Florida can be very costly. Coming off his failed bid for the Presidency, Rubio has only $23,000 cash on hand and has $1.9 million worth of debt, according to CBS News. On the plus side, however, three of his Republican opponents dropped out of the race once it became clear that Rubio was going to be running. U.S. Representatives Ron DeSantis and David Jolly dropped out and will run for re-election for their seats, and Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera said he will be focusing on his job as Scott’s number two.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 22, 2016
Many big name Republicans were quick to give their support and endorsement to Marco Rubio, including Newt Gingrich, John Kasich, Mitt Romney, and Ted Cruz. They each took to Twitter to announce that Rubio had their backing, with Romney even stating that “saving the Senate got a big boost.”
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 22, 2016
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) June 22, 2016
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 22, 2016
Saving the Senate got a big boost with @marcorubio‘s decision today. Thank you, Marco for fighting on.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 22, 2016
As USA Today reports, this move may be great for the Republican party, but it could wind up being bad for Marco Rubio’s political future. If he loses in his bid for re-election, it could spell the end of his White House hopes, and if he wins, his decisions over the next few years will no doubt be used against him in his next Presidential campaign. Time will tell if his gamble will pay off in the way that Republicans, and no doubt Rubio himself, are hoping.
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]