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  1. Florida Politics

Eating his words? What Marco Rubio said about not running for Senate again

In this June 3, 2016, photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, speaks during news conference in Doral. Leading Republicans expect Rubio to announce he is running for re-election to his Florida Senate seat.  (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)
In this June 3, 2016, photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, speaks during news conference in Doral. Leading Republicans expect Rubio to announce he is running for re-election to his Florida Senate seat. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)
Published Jun. 22, 2016

Marco Rubio said many times he had no intention for conducting a bid for Senate. Here are just a few.

Feb. 20, 2015: Rubio told reporters at the Palm Beach International Airport: "If I decide the best place for me to serve America is to run for president, that's what I'm going to do. And I'm not going to have an exit strategy premised on the idea that I'm going to pivot back to a Senate race. We have quality candidates in the state on the Republican side who could run and make great senators."

May 11, 2015: Rubio told ABC News, "I believe that if you want to be president of the United States, you run for president. You don't run for president with some eject button in the cockpit that allows you to go on an exit ramp if it doesn't work out."

Oct. 20, 2015: Rubio said on Fox News, "In November of next year, I will either be the president of the United States or a private citizen again, because I have a sense of urgency."

March 11, 2016: In West Palm Beach, Rubio said, "I'm running for president of the United States. I intend to see that process through to the end. I intend to be the nominee. If that doesn't work out, I've told everyone very clearly: January of next year I will either be the president of the United States or I will be a private citizen. And if I never hold elected office again, I'm comfortable with that."

March 14: A day before Florida's primary he told the Miami Herald, "I have no problem becoming a private citizen and moving on to other endeavors, to be successful at other things. I've not given much thought to it yet, but things outside of politics."

Rubio lost the Florida primary March 15. He continued to say he wouldn't run again but then began to slightly qualify his commitment against running.

March 17: Rubio told reporters in Washington, "I'll finish out my term in the Senate. We're going to work really hard here. We have some things we want to achieve. Then I'll be a private citizen in January."

May 16: Rubio tweeted, "I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January."

May 17: Rubio told a radio station that "I think being a private citizen is a good thing." However, he didn't rule out running at some point in the future.

May 26: Rubio told reporters it was "unlikely" he would seek re-election: "I didn't think it was fair for me to run for president and freeze that seat in a competitive state. So, I made my decision. I don't have anything new to say from what I said in the past. . . . I made that decision and I've lived by that decision. Nothing's changed."

But pressed further whether he might change his mind he replied, "I don't think so. Look, I enjoy serving with my colleagues, I respect them very much; I'll always listen to what they have to say. But I don't think anything's going to change."

May 29: CNN's Jake Tapper asked Rubio if he would run if his friend, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, didn't. "Maybe" Rubio said.

June 13: The day after the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, radio show host Hugh Hewitt asked Rubio about whether he would run for re-election.

"I think when it visits your home state, when it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country," Rubio said.

He added: "My family and I will be praying about all of this. And we'll see what I need to do next with my life with regard to how I can best serve."

June 15: After the Orlando shooting, Lopez-Cantera told Politico that on Sunday he encouraged Rubio to run. Rubio told reporters he would think about it over the weekend. "Obviously I take very seriously everything that's going on, not just in Orlando but in our country. I enjoy my service here a lot. So I'll go home later this week and I'll have some time with my family and then if there's been a chance in our status, I'll be sure to let everyone know."

Wednesday: Rubio told reporters that he decided to run. "I think that the point that really drove me to change my mind is that as we enter this kind of new chapter in our history here is, there's another role the Senate plays that I think can be really important in the years to come. And that's the power given to it in the Constitution to act as a check and balance on the excess of the president. It's even more important given the fact that control of the Senate could very well come down to what happens in the Florida race."

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