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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio will not attend GOP convention, citing re-election campaign

Sen. Marco Rubio will not attend the GOP convention, citing the need to stay in Florida and focus on his re-election campaign.

Associated Press

Sen. Marco Rubio will not attend the GOP convention, citing the need to stay in Florida and focus on his re-election campaign.

Sen. Marco Rubio will not attend the GOP convention, citing the need to stay in Florida and focus on his re-election campaign.

Rubio joins a list of prominent Republicans -- among them Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte -- skipping the convention because of Donald Trump.

But Rubio's campaign -- comfortably ahead in GOP primary pollls -- said Trump isn't the reason.

"Florida has always been a competitive state and it will be this fall. Marco had planned to go to the convention before he decided to seek re-election. Since Marco got into the race late, he will be in Florida campaigning and meeting with voters instead of going to Ohio," spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said.

In late May Rubio said he would attend, surprising some given sharp campaign trail differences with Trump. "I want to be helpful. I don't want to be harmful, because I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president," he said on CNN.

He later clarified that he wasn't sure if he would be asked to speak and if so, it would be about issues he believes in, maintaining a measure of distance from Trump.

[Last modified: Thursday, July 7, 2016 1:02am]

    

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