Donald Trump's two-pronged line of attack against Marco Rubio was that he was a tool of the Republican establishment with an abysmal attendance record as a U.S. senator. That line of attack worked so well that Trump shellacked Rubio by nearly 19 points in Florida. Rubio's home-state loss was in some ways historic.
Well, now that very same Republican establishment wants Rubio to reverse his decision not to run for reelection. They think he's a very good senator and can actually win a heated primary in Florida.
They're practically begging him to run.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn has publicly stated he wants Rubio to run. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly held a closed-door lunch this afternoon with several GOP senators. He asked for a show of hands of who wanted Rubio to stay in the Senate. Every single hand (presumably all of them with very long fingers) went up. Rubio's colleagues are now approaching him on the Senate floor and asking him to enter the race.
The buzz grew so loud that Rubio had to address the matter at a press conference this afternoon. He dismissed the possibility as unlikely and also noted that his friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is currently in the race.
“For me, I need time to even talk to anybody about it, but my sense of it is nothing has changed in my thinking," he told reporters.
Rubio, of course, famously declared that even if he failed in his bid for the Republican nomination, he would never seek another term in the Senate. Several anonymous sources blabbed to the press that Rubio was fed up with the legislative work.
"He hates it," one unnamed "longtime" friend once told the Washington Post.
Rubio's response: "I don’t know that ‘hate’ is the right word... I’m frustrated."
During his presidential campaign, he deflected criticism over his many missed votes by declaring many of them not that important.
He's maintained that come next January, he'll return to the private sector.
National Republicans, however, are right to be worried about the quality of the candidates running to replace Rubio. According to almost every single poll, including the most recent one from Quinnipiac, all of those candidates trail Democrat Patrick Murphy. (More than 20 percent of voters, however, remain undecided in all of those matchups.) None have particularly taken off in polls of the primary, either. Rep. David Jolly remains a slim frontrunner.
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Whether Rubio could actually guarantee them a win is another question. His approval ratings in the state are now underwater.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was also quick to point out one notable flaw in Republican's hopes.