Encouraged By Polls and GOP, Marco Rubio Will Run for Re-Election to Senate After All
FlaglerLive | June 22, 2016
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has reversed course and will seek re-election to his seat, according to numerous media reports Wednesday morning. Rubio’s decision comes as Republicans try to maintain control of the U.S. Senate.
“I think that the point that really drove me to change my mind is that as we enter this kind of new chapter in our history here is, there’s another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important in the years to come,” Rubio told the Miami Herald. “And that’s the power given to it in the Constitution to act as a check and balance on the excess of the president. It’s even more important given the fact that control of the Senate could very well come down to what happens in the Florida race.”
Rubio is the immediate front-runner in the race, a new poll shows. He holds solid leads over Democratic candidates Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, according to the Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
The Republican said during an unsuccessful presidential campaign that he would not run for a second term in the Senate. But Rubio has faced pressure in recent weeks to change his mind as the GOP tries to retain a Senate majority.
“With Republican national leaders worried about keeping control of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Marco Rubio might ride to their rescue if he decides to reverse field and seek re-election,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “This Quinnipiac University poll finds Sen. Marco Rubio in good shape when matched against his two potential Democratic opponents.”
The poll shows Rubio leading Murphy, a congressman who is the favorite of many Democratic Party leaders, by a margin of 47 percent to 40 percent. It also shows Rubio leading Grayson, an Orlando-area congressman, by a margin of 48 percent to 40 percent.
While Florida’s race could play a key role in determining control of the U.S. Senate, earlier polls repeatedly indicated that voters knew little about Murphy, Grayson and Republican candidates for the seat. Nevertheless, the new Quinnipiac poll gave Democrats an edge in the race — had Rubio decided against seeking re-election.
As an example, Murphy leads Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera by a margin of 41 percent to 32 percent, while Grayson holds a 5-point lead over Lopez-Cantera. Similarly, Murphy holds a 10-point edge over Congressman Ron DeSantis, while Grayson leads the Northeast Florida Republican by eight points.
Murphy and Grayson also lead in head-to-head matchups with Republican businessmen Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox, the poll shows.
As of Wednesday morning, Murphy, Grayson, Beruff and Wilcox had qualified for the race. Lopez-Cantera told supporters last week that he would leave the race if Rubio, a longtime friend, decides to seek re-election. But Rubio has remained coy about the issue. It’s not clear what DeSantis, currently the congressman representing the district that includes all of Flagler County, will do.
“When I’m ready to make an announcement, I will, either way,” Rubio told CNN on Tuesday. “Right now, we’re focused on some other things here regarding our work, OK?”
Brown, the Quinnipiac official, said that if “Rubio’s last-minute decision is to seek re-election, he could be in the driver’s seat.”
The Connecticut-based Quinnipiac frequently conducts polls in Florida and other political swing states. The poll released Wednesday was conducted from June 8 to Sunday. Quinnipiac surveyed 975 Florida voters, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
–News Service of Florida