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Marco Rubio Says He’s Out For Good: No Senate Run, No Plans For Governor in 2018

| May 27, 2016

marco rubio no mas

No mas, no mas. (Jamelle Bouie)

What U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio might do next has been the subject of intense speculation in political circles ever since he dropped out of the Republican presidential primary fight in March. Rubio is a relatively young, telegenic Cuban-American in a party struggling with young and Hispanic voters. Few believe he’s run his last campaign.


But Rubio has said he won’t run for governor in 2018 and publicly ruled out re-election to the Senate when he launched his presidential bid last year. In the interim, a posse of Republicans has signed up to try to keep the seat in GOP hands, from Congressmen Ron DeSantis and David Jolly to Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera to businessmen Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox.

The problem? Right now, the seat — and with it, possibly control of the entire Senate — seems to be at best a 50-50 prospect for the GOP. The five Republicans are still struggling with low name ID, and Democratic Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson are at worst in statistical dead heats in hypothetical match-ups with the GOP candidates.

CNN suggested that Rubio was facing pressure to run for re-election, a fire he tried to put out Thursday in (among other forums) a conversation with home-state media. Rubio said he has heard from colleagues and Florida activists “in the last day or so” who want him to re-up for six more years in the Senate. But Rubio repeatedly touched on his friendship with Lopez-Cantera to suggest that he wasn’t about to elbow his way back into the race.

“I think he’s a great candidate,” Rubio said. “I think he’ll make a great senator.”

And while Rubio wasn’t yet willing to formally say that he was endorsing Lopez-Cantera, he left little doubt that he would eventually do so, likely in “a few weeks.”

“We’re going to do these things at the appropriate time in conjunction with him. … I don’t think there’s any mystery about my feelings about him and about his candidacy,” Rubio said.

The refusal to run wasn’t quite as strong as Gen. William Sherman’s promise not to run if nominated for the presidency and not to serve if elected. Rubio didn’t slam the door shut on the possibility of running if Lopez-Cantera were to drop out. The senator simply said he didn’t answer hypothetical questions and that reporters shouldn’t attach any significance to that.

As for a recent burst of activity on issues critical to Florida, Rubio insisted he’s simply doing his job. When he was running for president, Rubio was often criticized by opponents for having one of the worst voting rates in the Senate — something he explained at the time by pointing out that he had a campaign to run.

In fact, Rubio tried (somewhat in vain) to focus at least some of Thursday’s conversation on Florida-related issues: addressing the Zika virus, citrus greening, a troubled housing project in Jacksonville, measures to help Puerto Rico, questions about benefits for Cuban immigrants.

“This is my job,” he said Thursday. “This is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

And there are some Republicans who would like to see him do it a bit longer.

THE OTHER DEMOCRAT

Pam Keith hopes Democrats in the next few months start to see her as an option for the U.S. Senate seat while the front-running Murphy and Grayson viciously spar in headlines and through social media.

The former Navy JAG officer and former Florida Power & Light attorney made the rounds Tuesday in Tallahassee without handlers in tow, trying to let the media know that progressive-favorite Grayson and establishment-backed Murphy aren’t the only Democrats seeking the party nomination.

“It is my belief that winning Florida (in the presidential race) is going to turn on African-American votes, on Latino votes, and women, and I’m the only candidate that actually helps our presidential nominee in all three categories,” Keith said. “There are some who would question whether Alan Grayson helps in those communities. And I doubt anybody makes a straight-faced argument that Patrick Murphy puts anybody at the table not already coming.”

In March, the Saint Leo University Polling Institute found Keith receiving support from about 1.9 percent of likely Democratic voters, compared to 19.9 percent for Murphy and 16.7 percent for Grayson.

But Keith said she’s all in, intending to pay the $10,440 qualifying fee next month.

The party hasn’t excluded her from appearing and speaking at events. But the party also hasn’t embraced her.

She has raised $98,081, chipped in $48,705 of her own money and started the second quarter of the year with just $13,361 in her campaign account.

She flew to Tallahassee on her own and used Uber to travel around the city to introduce herself and explain why she decided to run for the Senate when she’s never previously run for public office.

“You have to run for what you know and what you’re suited to, what your skills are related to,” Keith said. “I don’t know zoning rules of West Palm Beach. … I knew that I wanted to run for federal office because that is the law that I know.”

The daughter of diplomat Kenton Keith, who was the director of the U.S. Information Agency’s Office of North African, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Pam Keith received a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communications from the University of California, Davis before earning her law degree from Boston College. While in school she joined the U.S. Navy, working up to staff judge advocate at the Navy Computers and Telecommunications Command in Washington. She resigned her commission at the end of 1999 and went to work for law firms in the nation’s capital.

She came to Florida in 2011, working as senior labor counsel at Florida Power & Light.

Before opening her campaign account in October 2014, she had looked at running for Murphy’s House seat. But at the time, Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor was running. To the south, she didn’t want to challenge Democratic incumbent congresswomen Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: “I for one look forward to the Rubio for Senate/Trump for President joint rallies in Florida in October.”—Harry Enten (@ForecasterEnten), a writer and analyst for the website FiveThirtyEight, about stories Thursday suggesting Rubio would run for re-election to his Senate seat. Rubio and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump clashed bitterly in the primary.

–Brandon Larrabee and Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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12 Responses for “Marco Rubio Says He’s Out For Good: No Senate Run, No Plans For Governor in 2018”

  1. gladfly says:

    He can write a book, get rich, and lie on the beach the rest of his life. He would have made a good President.

  2. Rick G says:

    Bye Bye Marco… we won’t miss you.. Pam Keith is a very qualified candidate for Senate. I have met her in the past and she is not a one issue candidate. She is very well informed on all issues. I like Grayson and Murphy is the Democratic establishment darling here in Florida but Keith is definitely a better choice than Murphy.

  3. woody says:

    No great loss

  4. Geezer says:

    What to do? He can hang out in Miami, drink mojitos and figure out
    how to closely emulate Benito Mussolini’s gesticulations.
    He will then push his BS with great forcefulness. Men everywhere
    will want to know what shirts and cologne he wears.

    I wonder which department store boy’s department he uses…..

    Bye Little Marco.

  5. yellowstone says:

    Well, if this is what Marco has said (and I don’t believe him), maybe we should ask him to return that hefty paycheck we gave him to do the right thing for all Floridians. Which, incidentally, he did nothing (didn’t vote!) do anything for anybody. All this guy did during his brief term was campaign and run all over the US as a pretend POTUS candidate.
    The GOP has stuffed enough in his Cayman accounts, so he now he can retire – until his next run for a pretend political office.
    How about a refund Marco?

  6. Sherry says:

    So very right dear Geezer and also Yellowstone! There is no way I believe Rubio has given up politics! What other job could he get that would pay him as much to do absolutely NOTHING?!!! Rubio, elected to office only because of his family history.

    I would say good riddance to bad rubbish. . . but, unfortunately, I don’t really believe we’ve seen the last of him.

    Bon Soir from beautiful Beauvais!

  7. Knightwatch says:

    Good!! Go get a real job you GD hypocrite.

  8. OldSeaDog says:

    He sure did not seem to do his job in Congress representing the voters of Florida!

    Quoting from politifact.com/truth-o-meter:

    “…. a word about terminology. In political circles, attendance is usually determined not by the number of days you show up for work in the Senate, but by the number of votes you miss. We’ll use that standard.

    Rubio has been dealing with the attendance issue since the summer, when he had been missing more than half of all Senate roll call votes.

    Here’s the rundown as of March 4, according to GovTrack.us, which has a running tally of voting records for members of Congress.

    Rubio has missed 14.9 percent of the votes since taking office in January 2011. The typical senator currently serving has missed just 1.7 percent.

    His record has never been exemplary, but it really deteriorated starting in the first quarter of 2015, when he missed 18.5 percent, then 32.9 percent in the second quarter, 53.8 percent in the third and 58.2 percent in the fourth. Since January he has missed more than nine in 10 votes.”

  9. shark says:

    Little Marco was a worthless Senator !!!!!!!!!!! Never worked a day in his life !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Welcome to the real world says:

    No show Rubio won’t be missed. It is about time this man got out and got a real job. Every speech he gives it sounds as though he should be elected due to entitlement. His immaturity was revealed when he made the uncalled comments about Trump. We don’t need someone like this in office. The American voters sure let him know what they thought of him during his bid for President. Go home Marco!!!!!!

  11. Bill harvey says:

    Maybe he can run a shuttle boat Between Miami and Cuba and bring more Cubans into the USA so they can be dependent upon our medical and our Social Security System

  12. Wild Bill says:

    Maybe he can shuttle a boat between Miami and Cuba and take illegals back where they came from before Trump takes action. Marco Rubio is a joke and has no business in US politics!!!!

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