Senator Marco Rubio returned to the Senate on Thursday after spending eleven months running for President. While running for President, Rubio did occasionally make an appearance on Capital Hill, but his visits were infrequent. Speaking to reporters, Rubio took himself out of consideration to be the Republican vice presidential nominee. In addition, he said that he will not run for governor in his home state of Florida in 2018 nor will he run for re-election in Florida. Rubio is now effectively a lame-duck Senator with his retirement announcement.
Florida’s Senate primary and presidential primary are two different days. Florida’s primary for the Senate seat is August 30, and the filing deadline is June 24. Republicans and Democrats have both jumped into the race as Rubio had sat it out in order to run for President. Were Rubio to jump into the race, it could cause a shake-up with others leaving or they could stay in and try to defeat him in a primary. Among the Republicans is Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
After listing the offices he would not be running for, Rubio turned his attention to the Senate. “We’re going to work really hard here and we have some things we want to achieve. And then I’ll be a private citizen.”
During the presidential campaign, Rubio was repeatedly criticized by Donald Trump and former Governor Jeb Bush for his poor attendance record in the Senate. Rubio was called an absentee Senator and allies told the Washington Post that he “hates” the Senate.
Rubio also brought up the 2016 presidential campaign and said that he is weighing an endorsement. He said that he likes Governor John Kasich and that Senator Ted Cruz is a conservative. He expressed optimism and the belief that Donald Trump could be prevented from obtaining the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot.
When he returned to his office, staffers applauded him. Rubio acknowledged the applause and said, “Let’s get back to work.”