The Slatest

Rubio Changes Mind, Will Run for Senate Re-Election

Marco Rubio in Doral, Florida, on June 3.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican Florida senator and former presidential contender Marco Rubio has claimed for months that he would return to private life if/when he failed to win the GOP nomination.

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On Wednesday, however, Rubio confirmed recent rumors and announced that he will seek re-election to the Senate in the fall. “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 is, there’s another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important in the years to come,” Rubio told the Miami 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.” In a statement, Rubio framed his run as central to maintaining GOP control of the Senate and thwarting a Clinton presidency—but also distanced himself from Donald Trump and argued Trump could be checked and moderated by Republican senators. “[S]ome of his statements, especially about women and minorities, I find not just offensive but unacceptable,” he wrote. “If he is elected, we will need Senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him. I’ve proven a willingness to do both.”

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Rubio has pledged in contorted fashion to support Trump as the Republican nominee despite also asserting that the real estate heir should not be trusted with control of the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

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According to the Herald, at least two GOP candidates, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis and Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera, are likely to drop out of the state’s Senate race in the wake of Rubio’s announcement. Rubio was a special guest at a fundraiser for Lopez-Cantera’s campaign just last month and, the Herald reports, was scheduled to appear at another fundraiser for the lieutenant governor on Friday.

If he wins the Republican Senate primary in August, Rubio will likely face either Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy or former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson in November. A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday morning shows Rubio beating Murphy and Grayson 47–40 and 48–40 respectively.

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