On Monday night, May 16, 2016, junior Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio offered Twitter a somewhat bizarre rant about the press’ continued focus on his post-presidential campaign political life. It’d been two months since his high-profile loss to Republican rival Donald Trump in his own state’s Primary, and while he’d mostly made amends with the now presumptive nominee since then, his decision to become a “private citizen” in January wasn’t cutting it with journalists. Article after article was published quoting “sources” close to Rubio, and he’d had enough:
So why is this important again one month later? To the surprise of absolutely no one, it turns out that Rubio will be seeking re-election.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Rubio claimed he was motivated by the prospect of either a Hillary Clinton or Trump presidency. As both cases are highly likely now that the two presumptive nominees are set to battle it out in November’s general election, the Florida senator felt it was his duty to counteract the detrimental effects of either:
“No matter who’s elected president, there’s reason to worry. If it’s Hillary Clinton, you know we’re going to have four more years of the same failed economic policies, four more years of the same failed foreign policy. The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me in many ways. It’s no secret that I have significant disagreements with Donald.”
Then again, adds the Herald, Rubio’s decision to finally make his reelection bid official probably had something to do with the results of a new Quinnipiac poll. Specifically the fact that “in the crowded Republican field, Rubio was the only chance the GOP had of defeating Democrats [Patrick Murphy] or [Alan Grayson].” Since initially abstaining from the coming election, the Florida GOP has struggled to find a replacement who wouldn’t have any problems retaining Rubio’s seat for the party.
That, or Wednesday’s announcement could stem from the senator’s increasingly combative relationship with the press, especially after what the Washingtonian published in advance. According to undisclosed sources close to Rubio and junior Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the former reached out to the latter for support in his upcoming reelection campaign:
Rubio asked Cruz to blast out a statement urging Rubio to run for re-election, “so it’s not just Mitch [McConnell]” asking him to do so, as one aide described it.
Those aides say Cruz declined, as he didn’t want to be accused of nudging out U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the tea-party favorite in the race for Rubio’s seat. The aides say that Sen. Mike Lee of Utah echoed that concern after Rubio approached him with the same request. A Lee aide confirmed that this conversation took place.
Despite Lee’s confirmation, neither Rubio nor Cruz’s people confirmed the Washingtonian‘s story. After the Florida senator’s official announcement, however, it doesn’t matter as much now that his flip flop is common knowledge. So much so that Twitter is, unsurprisingly, having some fun at the former presidential candidate’s expense: