Election 2020

Rubio Trounces Primary Challenger Beruff, Who Chides Senator for Making 'a Life Mistake'

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks to supporters at a primary election party Aug. 30, 2016, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Despite his last-minute entrance into the race, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) defeated in a landslide a millionaire primary challenger who backed Donald Trump and had the backing of Ann Coulter.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Rubio had 71.8 percent of the vote in Florida’s GOP Senate primary to 18.6 percent for Carlos Beruff.

On the Dems’ side, bombastic Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) got just 17.6 percent to 58.9 percent for Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) in the bid to challenge Rubio.

Beruff, a real-estate developer, accused Rubio last week of doing a “tap dance” on whether or not he supports Trump.

“Carlos Beruff has been clear in his support of Donald Trump from the beginning. Marco Rubio? Not so much,” his campaign said in a statement, noting that Beruff supported Trump “100 percent.”

Today, Beruff issued a lengthy statement stressing he “got into this race because the Senate seat was open and was underwhelmed by our potential choices to represent the Republican Party.”

“In fact, prior to Marco Rubio going back on his word, our campaign had moved into first place in the Republican primary,” he said. “…Once Mr. Rubio went back on his word, all the other candidates (being the politicians that they are) ran scurrying for the exits.  David Jolly went back to running for Congress, Ron DeSantis went back to running for Congress, and Carlos Lopez-Cantera went back to doing whatever it is that he does, which is basically nothing except collect a check from the Florida taxpayers.”

Still, Beruff said he would support Rubio in November despite the senator making “a life mistake.”

“A man’s word is the most important thing he has. Mr. Rubio must live with that decision. Sadly, he could have learned a lot about America and about himself by leaving politics and spending some time in the real world,” Beruff said. “Nonetheless, he is the best of the remaining options.”

Grayson, however, said he would not be endorsing Murphy, calling the Dem congressman “a Republican.”

Rubio tweeted: “Thank you for all of your support! Let’s keep up the momentum.”

The senator, who began launching attacks against Murphy before the primary, delivered his victory speech to supporters in English and Spanish.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted his support: “Well done @marcorubio. So glad you stayed in the game. Now on to victory in November!”