Marco Rubio might be getting pressure to run for re-election, but that doesn’t seem to bother some U.S. Senate hopefuls.
Five Republicans — Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Carlos Beruff, and Todd Wilcox — are battling it out to replace Rubio in the U.S. Senate.
Rubio, who unsuccessfully ran for president this year, has said he plans to go into the private sector when his term ends. However, he’s been getting pressure to run for re-election from Republicans who are worried about losing the seat. According to CNN, Rubio responded “maybe” when asked if he would consider running if Lopez-Cantera, his close friend, wasn’t running.
“Look, I have a real good friend I’ve known for a long time who I was running for the Senate with; I didn’t run. I said I wasn’t going to. He got into the race,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I think he’s put in time and energy to it, and he deserves the chance to see where he can take it.”
Courtney Alexander, a spokeswoman for Lopez-Cantera’s campaign, said the lieutenant governor is focused on winning the seat.
“It looks like the press needs a narrative going into Memorial Day Weekend,” she said in a statement. “Carlos Lopez-Cantera is focused on winning this Senate seat, and Sen. Rubio has been supportive of Lopez-Cantera’s candidacy. I’ll let that speak for itself.”
Talk about the possibility of Rubio entering the race doesn’t seem to faze a few Senate candidates.
“We’re not concerned with D.C. chatter,” said Brad Herold, DeSantis’ campaign manager. “We’re focused on continuing to run the strongest campaign of any candidate in Florida.”
Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Beruff, said Beruff “is staying in this race no matter what.”
“Marco Rubio made the right decision in 2010 when he refused to get pushed out of the race by the power brokers in Washington,” he said in a statement. “As usual, Washington Republicans think they can control the race, but the voters of Florida will decide who our nominee is, and we feel confident about where we are.”
And Wilcox isn’t budging either.
“As a conservative, I have no intention of leaving this race just because another career politician gets in, especially one who fought for amnesty for illegals and oversaw tax increases as a city commissioner,” he said in a statement.
On Friday, Alex Leary with the Tampa Bay Times reported Jolly said he would withdraw from the race if Rubio gets in.
“I would withdraw from the Senate race and support Rubio for re-election,” said Jolly in a statement Friday afternoon.
Republicans aren’t the only ones weighing in on the Rubio speculation. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who faces Rep. Alan Grayson in the Democratic primary, said no matter what Rubio decides the race will be “about the people of Florida.”
“No matter what Marco Rubio decides, this race won’t be about him — it will be about the people of Florida, and that’s why I’m sure we will win in November. For years Floridians have been disappointed by Marco Rubio’s complete disinterest in the job they elected him to do,” he said in a statement. “Floridians know his record of missing votes, flip-flopping on immigration reform, and fighting against women’s health care. The voters are ready for a Senator who will wake up every day focused on fighting for them.”