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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio, once bullied into leaving Senate race, puts pressure on Kasich

2010 U.S. Senate candidates: Kendrick Meek, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist


2010 U.S. Senate candidates: Kendrick Meek, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist



In 2010, Marco Rubio felt the full weight of the GOP establishment come down on him for daring to get in Charlie Crist’s way of winning a U.S. Senate seat. Rubio has made that experience part of his political narrative, the underdog who refused to be pushed aside.

So it’s interesting to see the Rubio campaign now furiously trying to carry out its own bench clearing. The Wall Street Journal reports that Rubio’s campaign manager Terry Sullivan on a call with donors suggested John Kasich drop out of the race, deeming the Ohio governor “selfish.”

“No one is doing more to help Donald Trump than John Kasich,” Sullivan said, according to the Journal. “He is not getting delegates for himself, just for Trump.” Kasich’s campaign manager shot back: “Terry can get back to me after Rubio wins Florida. Good luck.”

Sure, the stakes are high with Trump. But Rubio had turned his 2010 race into a lesson of principle, one he has been telling voters this year.

The candidate seems peeved to have competition other than Trump, telling Fox News on Tuesday night that if he "didn’t have to share the ballot with two or three other people, I would have won.”

Rubio, as you might recall, shared the 2010 Senate ballot with not just Crist, who ran as an independent, but Democrat Kendrick Meek.

Meek was pressured by no less than Bill Clinton to drop out and give Crist and advantage. He refused.

“I gained a tremendous amount of respect for Kendrick Meek in the final weeks of the campaign,” Rubio wrote in his 2012 book. “I didn’t agree with him on many issues, but I knew one thing about Kendrick Meek. He was a man of character and integrity.”

Rubio thinks he still would have won if Kendrick had left the race, but having him on board certainly helped – just as Trump is helped by having more candidates under him.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 11:25am]


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