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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'Marco Rubio will become service adviser at Braman BMW'



The deadline for candidates to qualify for federal office arrive in two weeks. That means only a few more days to speculate about which candidates will actually be on the ballot for U.S. Senate and House races, and it means only a few more days for GOP bigs to beg, cajole and pressure Marco Rubio to run for a second term. Here's what the some of the 160 Florida Insiders had to say in our poll earlier this week about Rubio, the senate race, and the effect of Donald Trump on the ballot in Florida, from our Insider Poll earlier this week:

Republican: Rubio finds himself at a crossroads.  He's always been that "young man in a hurry" and now his political future is at stake.  He knows that there is no easy path to another office whether it be Governor in 2018 (which Putnam has the advantage) or President in 2020 (if Trump loses then it will still be a wide open field).  He knows that once you are out of the limelight for more than say, 4 years,  you are quickly forgotten (see Jeb).  If he were to stay in the Senate and break his pledge not to run, then at least he'd be in the limelight.  But it's not without risks - Patrick Murphy will not be a pushover, and this cycle has not been kind to Rubio (horrible approval numbers, getting his butt kicked by Trump in his home state).  The problem with most politicians is that they get addicted to the game and can't picture themselves not in the limelight (See Charlie Crist).  Being that Marco hasn't really had a "real" private sector job, he probably will find it hard to imagine working there.   I really don't know what he will do, but I don't think it will be as easy for him to win reelection to the Senate as he or the establishment Republicans in Washington think.

Democrat: Donald Trump is plagued by a bunch of serious  problems that will undermine the GOP, and his candidacy. First, he believes his own press releases. He cannot raise money, he cannot win without Hispanic voters and women. He keeps confirming daily that he is unfit. He sure makes the case for professional consultants because it's clear he doesn't listen to them.  It means he will loose and loose badly because he thinks free media and rallies will carry him.  The rallies are already shrinking and the media has turned on him and calling him what he is.  A racist.  The down ballot impact is HUGE.  Trump is so toxic, I still think he may be a plant because he's the best GOTV mechanism I've ever seen.

R: When is Ron DeSantis going to spend some of his money?

D: Trump will push more white voters to support a GOP ticket. 

R:    What miserable choices Foridians face in selecting a senator.  Rubio is clearly the strongest candidate, but I can't see him running for a seat he vacated in order to run for the presidency.  That would damage any future national aspirations he may have.
   The other Republican candidates have not distinguished themselves as ready for prime time.  The same is true of the Democratic field.
   The only solace voters can have is that there choices for senator are just as bad as their choices for president.  Close your eyes, plug your nose and pick from among the weak field of candidates.

R: Trump is, and always will be, a bombastic blowhard! That said he's tough, irreverent, caustic, and did I say tough! The country is sick and tired of being kicked around by political hacks who are weak as vanilla ice cream; they're ready for rocky road, and w/ Trump they get it.

R: Republican Super Voters will vote for the GOP presidential nominee. New Trump voters including NPA will add a huge boost to the GOP November turnout we have not seen before.  It about turnout. The RNC ground game is finally unstoppable and is already working. Operatives are switching voter registration all over the state.  At least four new "red" counties recently.  Ohio should be the most surprising and exciting convention in some time! Nobody knows what to expect. Can't wait!  As far as Marco Rubio, I would be so surprised if he is interested in qualifying at this time. 

D: Florida Republicans will feel the wrath from Donald Trump being at the top of the ticket.

R: The Republican senate nominee will help Trump since it's likely to be a hispanic.

R: Just like the Republican Presidential Primary, there is a favor for every voter in this race. We have a candidate with a staunch Conservative voting record, a candidate with an impressive resume, one who has been involved for years in Florida politics, another who has won a close/tough race, and an outsider.

D: This is a tough call for Rubio. He is facing intense pressure to get in the race, and for good reason. Control of the Senate may come down to what happens in Florida. With Trump at the top of the ticket he is the only Republican with a decent shot of winning the race. The question is what comes first, his loyalty to his party or his personal ambition. If he runs and loses he is done. Any chance of becoming Governor or President is gone. Then there is the issue of his personal finances. A bruising Senate campaign will put him even deeper in the hole. At the end of the day, it is too much of a gamble. My bet is he takes the safe road and sits this one out. 

D: If Rubio jumps in he will clear the field of Jolly and CLC, but will still face split challenges from the right.  Rubio would win the primary but with a modest share of the vote.   His problem would then be the general, where Rubio openly admitting the Senate was meaningless during the Presidental debates would come back up.  The picture Murphy and Democrats can paint of Rubio will greatly hinder his chances to win the seat, especially with Trump unlikely to win the state.  ... Murphy is sure to be the Democratic nominee.  He's primary polling has been improving and if their is any lingering doubt, Obama will run ads to prop him up, similar to what the party did in the Pennsylvania Senate Primary.  Grayson's latest attacks on the party don't swing average voters, but they are the sign of someone frustrated and angry knowing he won't be the nominee. 

D: Marco Rubio would win the Republican nomination if he entered the race, but he realizes that he will lose to Patrick Murphy, and he cannot stomach two highly publicized losses in a matter of months, so he will sit this one out.
The down ballot effect of Trump's lack of substance and bigotry cannot be overstated. He will be the cause of massive voter participation by latins, women, and muslims. The Republicans cannot control or even moderate him. This will be as destructive to the Republican party as LBJ's embrace of civil rights was to the Democrats.

R: Don't count DeSantis out, he has the money to compete and will duplicate his 'quiet' victory in his initial run in CD6.

D: Republicans carry an albatross into the general election with Trump at the head of the ticket. While the major Republican senatorial candidates would normally defeat the Democratic candidate, Trump casts doubt on such an outcome, especially if he continues to offend almost everyone with his comments.

NPA/Other: Another day, another news cycle and another incendiary comment by Donald Trump, the most recent about a federal judge.  The best advise for an R senate nominee in Florida is to chart a political course that steers clear of the tawdry Trump Train.

R: This Senate race is wide open.  There is no clear front runner.

R: Not only is Rick Wilson going appaletic regarding Donald Trump's domination to being the GOP nominee, he's probably so wrapped around the axel about Beruff that he cannot see straight with a pair of bifocals. 

R: The Summer of Trump could set Florida Republicans back two decades if only there was a Florida Democratic Party worth noting.

R: Rubio would have to constantly explain why he's running for a job he clearly disdains. 

D: Rubio is all about personal ambition, airbrushed photos, and, secret financial shenanigans. 

R: Rubio has been helping Lopez-Cantera fundraise and has pretty much endorsed him. That's not how you act if you're going to run for the seat yourself. 

R: Republicans are giving away this senate seat. It's hard to watch.

R: Marco as in the past has not been honest with the voters and with his friends. He has thrown many including his friends under the bus if it meant it would benefit Marco. Look out Carlos Lopez-Cantera your buddy will be doing the same to you in the next few days. Same old Marco - he hasn't and will never change. 

R: If Marco runs for another term he will win that Senate seat, if Marco does not run, Congressman Ron DeSantis will be the next Senator from Florida.

R:  If he wants to keep the Senate in Republican hands, Rubio must run. Lopez-Cantera has no momentum. Bereft is trying to buy the seat. Rubio needs to step-up and run. This situation is really worse than anyone could have expected. 

R: As a Trump supporter it hurts me to say this but unless Trump drastically changes his tone relating to Hispanics, he will be a drag statewide in FL. Rubio can easily over come that, but another GOP candidate may not be able too. 

NPA/Other: Beruff is following the previously successful GOP primary strategy used by both Rick Scott and Donald Trump.  And he is doing it in a much larger field of candidates, lowering the threshold he'll need to gain in order to win. 

D: This election cycle has more turns than the Daytona 500. And we haven't even gotten to the dramatic last laps yet! 

D: Rubio is smart enough to realize that his political career will be damaged or done if he gets in and loses. The Democrats will have a field day with his lack of accomplishments if he runs. I think he sits out and becomes a service advisor at Braman BMW.

D: In any other year Beruff might have been able to buy himself a senate seat but with Trump at the top of the ticket it's going to be to much to overcome.  But he will be able to buy himself the Republican nomination.  I don't think Rubio runs because he's said repeatedly he wouldn't and for some reason, on this, I trust him. 

R: Trump is an electoral dirty bomb, and Republicans down ballot are going to die of radiation sickness.

R:  Marco needs an office to run for 2020 after Trump gets hammered. Can't do that from a DC lobby firm or acquiring corporate board chairmanships. CLC can announce he is going to run for CFO in 2018 in order to keep the Florida Senate seat secure for his 'friend' Marco. 
With Marco - Marco wins the nomination, all bluster from Wilcox and Beruff diminishes though their massive egos probably will not. Marco ekes out a win v. Murphy. 
Without Marco - Murphy ekes out win over DeSantis, who took nomination narrowly with much outside money and help that won't save him in November's wave.

D: Republicans have won 3 out of 4 of the last 4 open US Senate seats in Presidential cycle getting a boos t from strong top of the  ticket GOP performance pulling them over the top. Trump will not provide coattails.

D: If Marco jumps in, all bets are off. The Trump factor won't hurt Marco. But if he stays out, the Trump factor will hurt any other Republican in the race. Murphy wins.

R: Trump will hurt every down ballot Republican candidate in 2016.  The democrats will marry him and all his baggage to every other Republican candidate from school board to the US Senate.  Rubio needs to run for US Senate.  If not, we will end up with yet another self-funded cowboy who is completely unaccountable like Trump and Rick Scott.

R: Trunp needs Rubio to have a chance to win Florida.  Trump also needs to focus on the issues and quit the personal attacks.

R: If Gary Johnson's name is added to the polling, he could get to the 15% needed for debates.  Takes away equal from Trump and Clinton.  

D: Trump is a deadly drag on the entire Republican slate -- anywhere, but especially in vote-rich Florida. His down-ballot impact will be noticeably negative -- no matter how far some GOPers try to distance themselves. This will not only affect GOP prospects in races throughout this 2016 cycle, but also may create some longer-lasting toxic fallout on the GOP going forward toward 2018.

R: It's been interesting to see Trump nudging Rubio to reconsider, because in many ways Carlos Beruff is the model Trump candidate - brash, eager to use politically incorrect statements to generate free media coverage, willing to be perceived by insiders as a maverick in order to tap into the Trump base.  I really don't know whether Rubio gets back in, but I think there's at least a possibility that if he does, even if he chases CLC and David Jolly out of the race, that he gets <50% if the Trump voters turn out as they did in the presidential primaries. In that scenario, his best hope might be that Todd Wilcox is strong enough to undercut Beruff for the outsider vote.

D: if Rubio keeps his word in not running for re-election and runs for president in 2020 he is a leading candidate. If he instead breaks his word and loses in the trump undercurrent his career is over for good. 

D: Donald Trump is a train wreck for the Republican Party. The damage he is doing to the Republican Party could force a dramatic unprecedented result at their convention including the possibility that an alternative nominee could emerge. 

NPA/Other: Trump dumpster fire is just beginning.

D: If Marco runs, it's tough to see him losing a primary, especially with the anti-establishment vote being split up 2 or 3 ways. He's the only Republican candidate that could potentially weather the Trump effect with Hispanics. 

D: Rubio isn't going to run. He wants to go make money and pick his opportunities to weigh in before running for President again in 2020. He knows the GOP is at too much of a tipping point right now between the same Tea Party/non-establishment forces that got him to the Senate and the establishment figure he tried to run as. His best bet is to let that play out for a bit with him on the sidelines. ...But thanks GOP for killing your FL Senate candidates. Spending weeks telling the world they can't win. Telling donors their money can't help in FL, so without Rubio in the race, spend it elsewhere. Telling activists their candidates suck so go help someone else. On behalf of Florida Democrats, let us know where we should send the Thank You notes.

D: The only thing more humiliating for Marco than endorsing Donald Trump months after losing 66 of 67 counties to him, would be losing — again — with him on the ballot in November, erasing his political future.

D: Assuming Rubio wants to take another stab at the Presidency, the only way it makes sense for him to run for re-election is if he believes Trump will win.  If he believes Clinton will win, he's best to lay low for a few years, and fire up the Rubio machine in 2019.  Problem on on the GOP side is no one can communicate.  You have candidates raising State Senate kind of money, versus one who can self fund.  Unless one of them can find a pot of gold, it is probabaly Beruff to lose.....Unless Trump can find real traction in Florida, or unless my party is dumb enough to nominate Grayson, Beruff will lose to Murphy by 3-4 points this fall.   I predict then he will mount a self-financing campaign for Governor. 

R: You needed one more question: Will Hillary Clinton help or hurt the Democratic senate nominee in Florida. Answer: Hurt

D: This is a sad state of affairs for the Republican Party. A country as great as ours should have equally qualified candidates for the White House, and in this election that simply isn't the case. Sad state of affairs. 

R: The Trump Bulldozer will bring out a new type of GOP voter that will ripple down the ballot and carry the day for a GOP victory.

R: Rubio won't run again. Fanning the speculation and keeping his name in headlines is an effective personal marketing plan as he looks for private sector gigs.

D: It comes down to Florida's changing demographics and  there is no doubt that trump will have a hard time with minrotires in the state. 

R: I do not believe the hype about Rubio getting back in the Senate race.  I believe that he is going to double-down on helping Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

R: While there is a lot of pressure for Marco to get back in the race (and to keep the Senate seat R), the pressure on him to build personal income appears to be greater.  Marco is not a wealthy person, and won't be anytime soon if he remains Senator.  I would be greatly surprised if he chose to get back in, as flip flopping on such a grand scale would surely come back to haunt him in any future efforts for higher office.

R: Donald Trump will upend the general election just as he turned the GOP primary race on its ear. All us experts need to realize we can't explain it and just learn from it. 

D: As a Democrat I almost want Marco to run again, just so Murphy can beat him in November and end his political career once and for all. 

R: The drafting of Marco Rubio is being expertly orchestrated.  It's as if it was  written by the folks over at House of Cards.  All that remains is for CLC to get the hint.

R: Just like Charlie Crist, Marco craves the spotlight, attention, and perks of public office.  Look for him to run again, but ultimately lose, as Donald Trump is a disaster for down ballot Republicans.  Patrick Murphy will be our next Senator.

R: Trumps treatment of Hispanics is a killer for the GOP. 

We all our Florida Insiders to weigh in anonymously in order to encourage honesty. This months participants included:

Mike Hightower, Susie Wiles, Screven Watson, Alex Patton, Eric Zichella, Alan Becker, Rockie Pennington, Nick Hansen, April Salter, Bob Poe, Nick Iarossi, Pat Roberts, Alex Sink, Rick Wilson, Kathy Mears, Peter Wallace, Frank Tsamoutales, Kevin Cate, Kirk Pepper, Ben Pollara, Ashley Walker, Damien Filer, Jackie Lee, Towson Fraser, Gus Corbella, Brian Hughes, Stafford Jones, Stephen Shiver, Christian Ulvert, Ann Herberger, Roly Marante, Chris Hand, Andrew Gillum, Richard Gentry, Mark Ferrulo, Brett Doster, Bob Sparks, Berne Campbell, Gretchen Picotte, Fred Piccolo, Steve Schale, Joshua Karp, Eric Jotkoff, Steven Vancore, Jim Rimes, Ryan Tyson, Matt Bryan, Matthew Corrigan, Pete Mitchell, Eric Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Cory Tilley, Rich Heffley, Christina Johnson, Ron Sachs, Jason Unger, Bud Shorstein, Aubrey Jewett, Geoffrey Becker, David Rancourt, Van Poole, Steve Uhlfelder, John Stemberger, Brian May, John French, Mel Sembler, Husein Cumber, Jeff Hartley, Pablo Diaz, Doc Dockery, Ron Bilbao, Barry Edwards, David Johnson, Mac Stipanovich, Charles Dudley, Josh Geise, Robin Rorapaugh, Fred Cunningham, Jason Roth, Brad Coker, Clarence McKee, Dave Aronberg, Jamie Miller, Bill Lee, Darrick D. McGhee, Roger Stone, Alan Stonecipher, Don Hinkle, Allan Bense, John Konkus, Jack Seiler, Rodney Barreto, David Bishop, Nancy McGowan, Mike Fasano, Chris Hartline, Paul Mitchell, Jim Cherry, John Dowless, Jack Funari, Betty Castor, John Rood, Sarah Rumpf, Jon Ausman, Scott Arceneaux, Julia Gil Woodward, Henry Kelley, Tom Lewis, Seth McKee, Abel Harding, Wayne Bertsch, Eric Kirk, April Schiff, Greg C. Truax, David Colburn, Tom Tillison, Tom Scarritt, Matthew Isbell, Erin VanSickle, Jill Chamberlin, Ron Pierce, Tim Baker, Jason Rosenberg, Andrew Weinstein, Christian Ziegler, Ron Klein, Mary Anne Carter, Bob Graham, Bill Helmich, Chris Korge, Ellen Friedin, Briwn Crowley, John Wehrung, Peter Antonacci, Cindy Graves, Mike Hamby, Scott Peelen, Ron Gunzburger, Susan Glickman, Sarah Bascom, Kevin King, Greg Turbeville, Darryl Paulson, Stephanie Kunkel, Chip Case, Richard DeNapoli, David Beattie, Gayle Andrews, Paula Dockery, Jon Mills, Fred Karlinsnky, Robert Wexler, Nels Kingston,Mark Zubaly, Marty Fiorentino, Donna Arduin, George Riley, Slater Bayliss, Doug Kaplan, Ana Cruz.


[Last modified: Friday, June 10, 2016 9:50am]


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