Disheartened politicians backing Marco Rubio not ready to move on to Donald Trump
TALLAHASSEE — They are too wounded to know what is next.
While Gov. Rick Scott has thrown his support behind Donald Trump and called on Florida Republicans to unite behind the brash real estate tycoon, Marco Rubio loyalists just aren't there yet.
"It is very difficult for me to see Rubio move on," state Rep. Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice, a member of Rubio's Florida leadership team, said. "I feel Marco had the best qualities of any of the other 17 candidates that had put themselves out there. All of the rest of the candidates are seriously flawed."
He's hardly alone. More than a half-dozen members of Rubio's leadership team in Florida said over the last 48 hours that they are not ready to unite behind Trump, with many leaving open the possibility of never getting behind him and holding out a glimmer of hope that a contested Republican National Convention could revive Rubio's chances.
For those running for re-election and facing Republican primaries in the fall, supporting Trump or not has consequences that could affect their own races.
Rather than committing, many are just staying out of the discussion all together.
Instead of endorsing any of the three remaining candidates, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, Rubio's co-chairman for Florida, said he's simply "taking a break" for a while and focusing on his own campaign for re-election in a newly re-drawn Congressional District that already has drawn a Republican primary opponent. Charlotte County Republican John Sawyer III, has filed to challenge Rooney in a district that includes central Florida citrus areas from Polk County south to Lake Okeechobee.
State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, an early Rubio supporter, said as of Wednesday he has no plans to endorse another presidential candidate.
"For the moment, I'm staying on the sidelines… I'm focused on my campaign and my race in 2016," said Diaz de la Portilla, who's seeking re-election in what's expected to be a very competitive general election campaign against State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami.