Republicans in the upper chamber are urging Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to run for re-election instead of leaving the Senate at the end of the year.
“We’re doing everything to encourage him to run,” Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday.
In an effort to keep the Senate in GOP hands, Republicans believe Rubio is strong enough in his state to win his seat again, but one Florida GOP Senate primary contender says the former presidential candidate has little support available in the state he lost in the presidential primary to Donald Trump.
The Carlos Beruff campaign released an internal survey Tuesday, Roll Call reported, that shows him at the top of the five-person race and in a virtual tie with Florida GOP Rep. David Jolly. Beruff, who has been compared to Donald Trump for his campaign style, is one point ahead of Jolly in the poll.
Trump himself, however, already called for Rubio to run for a second term after both men mended political fences.
Poll data shows that @marcorubio does by far the best in holding onto his Senate seat in Florida. Important to keep the MAJORITY. Run Marco!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2016
Rubio told CNN he would be more interested in jumping into the race if his friend, Florida Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera was not already in the primary.
“Look, I have a real good friend I’ve known for a long time who I was running for the Senate with. I didn’t run. I said I wasn’t going to. He got into the race,” Rubio said. “I think he’s put in time and energy to it and he deserves the chance to see where he can take it.”
Campaign spokesmen for both Beruff and Lopez-Cantera told CNN their candidates will not drop out if Rubio enters the race. Rubio must make a decision by a board election June 24 deadline if he wants to enter the race.