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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

If history is any guide, Marco Rubio has strong shot at re-election



Good news for Marco Rubio as Smart Politics takes us on a history trip:

Senator Rubio is hardly the first sitting member of U.S. Senate to run for president, fail, and then seek reelection back to his seat all in same cycle, and a new Smart Politics report finds that those senators who have done so over the past half-century have an unblemished track record at keeping their seat:

● A Smart Politics analysis finds that all seven sitting U.S. Senators who ran for reelection in the cycle of their failed presidential bid since 1972 were victorious – and each by double-digit margins.

● The seven U.S. Senators who won reelection coming off failed White House bids were Texas Democrat Lloyd Bentsen (1976), West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd (1976), Washington Democrat Scoop Jackson (1976), Kansas Republican Bob Dole (1980), Texas Republican Phil Gramm (1996), Utah Republican Orrin Hatch (2000), and Delaware Democrat Joe Biden (2008). The electoral fates of Marco Rubio and Rand Paul of Kentucky remain to be seen.

● All seven of these aforementioned senators were able to rebound from their unsuccessful presidential runs with convincing double-digit general election wins: Bentsen (by +14.5 points), Byrd (ran unopposed), Jackson (+47.6), Dole (+27.5), Gramm (+10.8), Hatch (+34.1), and Biden (+29.4).

● Three other U.S. Senators during this period opted not to run for reelection in the cycle of their failed White House bids – and all three seats subsequently flipped that November: Oklahoma Democrat Fred Harris in 1972 (won by GOPer Dewey Bartlett), Florida Democrat Bob Graham in 2004 (Mel Martinez), and North Carolina Democrat John Edwards in 2004 (Richard Burr).

● Since 1972, it has been more common for sitting U.S. Senators to run for president two years out from reelection (23 times) or four years out (15) than during cycles when their term expires (12).

Smart Politics is the non-partisan political news site researched and authored by Dr. Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2016 8:31am]


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