Marco Rubio says he intends to serve out a full U.S. Senate term if he wins re-election and is not eyeing another presidential run in 2020.
The vast majority of Florida politics experts surveyed in our latest Florida Insider Poll, however, don't seem to buy it. Nearly three in four of the more than 165 Sunshine state campaign professionals, fundraisers, lobbyists, and academics we surveyed expect Rubio to run for president in 2020 if Hillary Clinton wins the White House this year.
"Take this to the bank: If Marco Rubio is re-elected on Nov. 8, his total lack of interest in the work of the United States Senate will return on November 9. Rubio '20 starts that day," said a Democrat.
Rubio is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. A whopping 87 percent of our Insiders expect the Miami-Dade Republican to win the second term that he had spent much of the year insisting he did not want as he ran for president.
"Marco will win the TV war. He would not have jumped into race so late without a promise of $40M to $50M from national committees," said a Republican.
"Unfortunately for Patrick Murphy, the Senate race is not the same race he singed up for," a Democrat said. "Floridians seem to accept Rubio's flip flop back into a race for a job he doesn't want. BIG IF, if the polls are wrong, and Hillary Clinton wins Florida by a larger margin with a huge turn out in the I-4 corridor including the large Democratic performing Hispanic communities maybe Murphy will squeak out a victory."
Polls show a neck-and-neck race for president in Florida, with Trump barely leading in the RealClearPolitics polling average, but the Florida Insiders remain skeptical about Trump's Sunshine State prospects.
About 57 percent expect Clinton will win Florida's 29 electoral votes. Nearly seven in 10 expect her to win the presidency.
"Hillary should be able to win Florida, but it will be close. Trump has proven to be far better than anyone at getting earned media and Hillary has certainly given him a lot of new fodder recently between her health "scare" and "deplorables" comment," said a Democrat. "The more she makes mistakes, the more she'll have to spend to dig herself out and to win swing states like Florida."
"Marco will win Florida by about 4-5 points, and Trump will lose Florida by about the same," a Republican predicted. "It would be larger except Hillary is the worst Democratic presidential candidate since McGovern '72. The difference is the overwhelming non-Cuban Hispanic margin which will put Trump in a position he cannot make up with his Legion of Doom.*
Another worried Democrat questioned the Clinton campaign's South Florida outreach: "The Clinton campaign cannot ignore core Florida constituencies such as the Haitian community in South Florida who have been alienated by the Clintons' meddling in Haiti. The Clinton campaign needs to show some respect by having an honest conversation with this voting block that has been overwhelmingly supportive of democrats. Period. Kaine, Podesta, Bill, Madam Secretary... Somebody! Meanwhile, Trump is about to hang out in Little Haiti!!! He can count!"
Reminder: These are thoroughly unscientific surveys that reflect the conventional wisdom of Florida's political elites. A year ago, 85 percent of the Florida Insiders said they expected Jeb Bush would win the Florida primary. This month's Florida Insiders included:
Stephen Bittel, Screven Watson, Frank Torres, Susie Wiles, Joe Gruters, Fred Piccolo, Eric Jotkoff, Nick Hansen, Rich Ramos, Damien Filer, Jason Roth, Susannah Randolph, Nelson Diaz, Javier Manjerres, Marc Reichelderfer, Mac Stipanovich, Jim Davis, Ashley Bauman, Robert Watkins, Frank Tsamatoules, Eric Zichella, Andy Ford, JC Planas, Kirsten Dougherty, Stephen Shiver, Karl Koch, Bridget Nocco, Steve Geller, Don Hinkle, Jim Cherry, Kathy Mears, Kevin Cate, Mike Hamby, Christian Ziegler, Chris Korge, Brian Franklin, Jim Rimes, Jim Horne, Kirk Pepper, Nikki Lowrey, Pat Neal, Scott Barnhart, Jason Unger, Seth McKee, Charles Dudley, Jamie Wilson, Brian Hughes, Ron Gunzburger, Darryl Paulson, Mark Foley, Eric Johnson, John Dowless, David Bishop, Joshua Karp, Christian Camara, Geoffrey Becker, Doug Kaplan, Brian May, Gus Corbella, Pete Mitchell, Cory Tilley, Husein Cumber, Hayden Dempsey, Gretchen Picotte, Susan Smith, Ellen Freidin, Jason Altmire, Wayne Bertsch, Tre Evers, Mark Ferrulo, Clarence McKee, Bud Shorstein, Jason Rosenberg, Jack Seiler, Jose Gonzalez, Christina Johnson, Richard DeNapoli, Eric Eikenberg, John Wehrung, Alan Stonecipher, Bob Sparks, Alan Clendenin, Van Poole, Ralph Arza, Pat Roberts, Marion Hammer,April Schiff, Matt Bryan, David Rancourt, Chris Hand, Roger Stone, Alex Patton, Steve Schale, Alex Patton, Towson Fraser, Bill Bunkley, David Beattie, Mary Anne Carter, Karen Thurman, Karen Unger, Pablo Diaz, Rodney Baretto, Ron Pierce, Jon Woodard, David Johnson, Betty Castor, Paula Dockery, Justin Day, Darrick D. McGhee, Roly Marante, Sarah Rumpf, Greg Turbeville, Bob Graham, Ron Sachs, James Holton, Jennifer Green, Jeff Johnson, Marty Fiorentino, Tom Tillison, Mike Fasano, Julia Woodwad, Paul Mitchell, Jeff Wright, Abel Harding, Steve Uhlfelder, Greg C. Truax, Aubrey Jewett, Mike Hanna, Brian Burgess, Oscar Anderson, Matthew Isbell, Chip LaMarca, Ana Navarro, Tim Baker, Bill Lee, Alan Becker, Peter wallace, John Morgan, Nancy McGowan, Jon Mills, Andrew Weinstein, Susan Goldstein, Cynthia Henderson, Patrick Slevin, Bill Helmich, Monica Russo, Peter Antonacci, Dave Aronberg, Ron Bilbao, Ron Greenstein, Erin VanSickle, Barry Edwards, Jack Furnari, Richard Gentry, Stafford Jones, Jon Ausman, Slater Bayliss, Kevin King, Mark Zubaly, Susan Glickman, Mike Hightower, Brian Goff, Adam Goodman, Al Cardenas, Stephanie Kunkel, Henry Kelley, John Konkus,Jeff Hartley, Tom Scarritt