Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) held on to his seat in a campaign season that saw him decide not to run for re-election, unsuccessfully run for president, and change his mind about seeking a second term in the upper chamber.
“I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January,” Rubio tweeted in May after being pressed on whether he’d change his mind about not running for re-election.
With 51 percent of precincts reporting, Rubio was leading Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) 51-45 percent.
Rubio had a polling edge of anywhere from 1 to 7 points in the final week, while Murphy got a campaign boost from barnstorming Dems coming through the swing state on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Murphy’s campaign criticized Rubio for not mentioning Florida in his final, closing-argument ad, calling it his first ad of the 2020 presidential election cycle.
“Marco Rubio’s final ad, like the entirety of his career in the U.S. Senate, has nothing to do with Florida and everything to do with his presidential ambitions,” said Murphy campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen. “Rubio isn’t even waiting for the votes to be counted in Florida’s Senate election before turning attention to his 2020 presidential bid.”
Rubio’s campaign hammered Murphy over his finances, seizing on Murphy’s $1 million loan to his campaign for last-minute ad buys and demanding that the congressman release his tax returns.
“Murphy must be worried that his tax returns prove he was never actually a small business owner, or that he profited from tens of millions of dollars worth of business with Donald Trump,” said Rubio spokesman Michael Ahrens. “Murphy says ‘democracy requires transparency’ and wants to force others to release their tax returns, but his refusal to be transparent with voters begs the question: What is Patrick Murphy hiding?”