CNN’s John King reported Sunday that Marco Rubio is telling supporters that he will run for re-election in the U.S. Senate. This report has some credibility after Representative David Jolly, the frontrunner in the race to replace Rubio in the Senate, unexpectedly dropped out of the race on Friday.
“The Florida senator is telling top supporters he has changed his mind — and will run for re-election to the Senate,” King declared, citing unnamed sources involved in negotiations. “This change of heart will be a boost to Republican hopes of holding their Senate majority after a tough couple of weeks.”
The filing deadline for the race is this coming Friday, June 24. Fundraisers say Rubio is laying the groundwork for a potential last-minute entry into the Senate race. “We’re expecting early next week a yes or a no,” a major fundraiser for Rubio’s presidential bid told NBC News. The senator may decide against running, but a decision is expected Monday.
Rubio is the most competitive against the top two Democratic candidates, Representatives Patrick Murphy (28.3 percent in the Democratic primary) and Alan Grayson (17.3 percent). He runs a mere one point behind Murphy in the RealClearPolitics average, and between two and five points ahead of Grayson.
Jolly led in the RealClearPolitics average of Republican primary polls with 12 percent, but fell behind both Murphy and Grayson this month. In the most recent poll, Murphy beat him by 43 percent to 29 percent, while Grayson beat him 30 percent to 33 percent.
Next Page: How do the other GOP candidates fare against the Democrats?
Rep. Ron DeSantis (second place in the GOP contest with 9 percent) has consistently polled behind Murphy (although the latest poll had him only down by 1 point), and recently beat Grayson by two points.
DeSantis has a long list of endorsements, including former United States Ambassador John Bolton, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Utah Senator Mike Lee, in addition to conservative organizations such as the Club for Growth, the Family Research Council, FreedomWorks, and Citizens United. It could get awkward if Rubio, elected as a Tea Party darling in 2010 with the support of many of these same groups, were to jump into the race against DeSantis.
Carlos Beruff (third in the GOP with 6 percent, but ahead in the most recent poll) loses to Murphy by 9.5 points and to Grayson by 5 points.
Florida’s junior senator, Rubio openly declared that he would not run for re-election, instead focusing his electoral efforts on winning the Republican nomination for president. He dropped out in March, after losing the primary in his home state.
After The Washington Post cited unnamed sources, saying that Rubio would never become Donald Trump’s running mate, the senator took to Twitter, attacking the use of unnamed sources in reporting. No word yet on whether John King’s unnamed sources are accurate.