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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio addresses efforts to get him to run for re-election

Sen. Marco Rubio sits down with Florida reporters on Thursday.

Alex Leary | Times

Sen. Marco Rubio sits down with Florida reporters on Thursday.

Sen. Marco Rubio on May 26, 2016, speaking with Florida reporters in his Washington office, addressed efforts by other Republicans to get him to run for re-election this year.

Rubio: “Look, I’m honored. I’ve always enjoyed serving in the Senate. This notion that I didn’t like being here was false. I was frustrated by the Senate under Harry Reid’s four years. Not much happened. It’s a different Senate, so that’s just not true. I didn’t run for president because I hated being senator. I ran because I thought it could make an even bigger difference running for president. I didn’t run for re-election at the same time because I didn’t think it was fair for me to be a candidate for president and freeze the Senate field in a competitive state like Florida. If Florida was a reliably Republican state, the dynamic might have been different. But it wasn’t and we deserve to have good people out there running. One of those people running is my very close friend, Carlos Lopez-Cantera. It’s not a political friendship. It’s not a political alliance. It is someone I’ve known personally for almost a quarter-century. I think he’s a great candidate. I think he’ll make a great senator. At some point here soon I’ll have something more to say about his candidacy. So that’s kind of where I am today and it’s where I was a week ago before all these stories came up.”

Q: If you were told that your staying in the Senate would make the difference between Republicans maintaining control or not maintaining control … would you stay in Senate?

Rubio: “My answer would be what I said before and that is, then we need to make sure we get behind the right candidate in the primary to win. As I said, I think Carlos Lopez-Cantera is a very good candidate. I understand the argument and the people who are coming forward and asking me to reconsider are people I respect and enjoy serving with. But I have a really good friend running for the Senate who I think is a good candidate, who I think gives us a real good chance to win if he were to be nominated.”

Q: Just to be 100 percent accurate, if we say you have determined you are definitely going to seek re-election …

Rubio: “I think you can say that my answer today is the same one that it was when we’ve last spoken about this in the past. I just acknowledged that those conversations and people have approached me. Look, if the circumstances were different, but they’re not. This is the fact: Carlos is in the race. He’s a good friend, he’s a good candidate, he’ll be a great senator. So my answer today is no different than it was 24-48-72 hours ago. All right?"

[Last modified: Thursday, May 26, 2016 5:25pm]


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