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Tracker video: Rubio reluctant to back Mitch McConnell at Pinellas campaign stop

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio speaks in July in Tampa

Octavio Jones | Times

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio speaks in July in Tampa



Sen. Marco Rubio at a campaign stop early this month was reluctant to throw support behind the Senate majority leader.

At an Aug. 1 question-and-answer session in Pinellas County, Rubio was asked if he was “firmly committed” to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as majority leader or “could we do a little bit better?” It was caught on video by a “tracker” sent by a rival campaign and posted on YouTube.

“Well first of all, I can just tell you about Mitch, I don’t know of anyone else that’s running for majority leader. Nobody wants the job,” Rubio said. “So I’m not sure you’re going to have a contested majority leader race because the real influence in the senate — the headlines may be driven by the majority leader, but the real influence lies outside of that position.”

But he didn’t answer whether he thought the Senate could do better than McConnell.

Asked if Rubio supports McConnell or believes he’s doing a good job, Spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement that McConnell hasn’t been opposed in his bid to lead the Senate Republicans.

“He will be unopposed again in January,” she said. “His opponent for majority leader will be Chuck Schumer, and unlike Alan Grayson or Patrick Murphy, Marco will never vote for Chuck Schumer.”

Rubio is running against Bradenton developer Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 Republican Senate primary.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat candidate for Senate, was reluctant to support Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as the chamber’s Democratic leader. He has since issued a strong statement of support.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 12:41pm]


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