Florida lawmaker drops Senate bid to make way for Rubio

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Will Rubio Run For Re-Election in Florida?

June 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Representative David Jolly ended his bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Florida on Friday, opening the way for Marco Rubio to seek re-election in an effort to help Republicans maintain control of the chamber.

"Marco is saying he's getting in," Jolly, a fellow Republican who has been running to fill the seat for the past 10 months, said on CNN. Rubio dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

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Later Friday, Jolly, who represents the area around St. Petersburg and Clearwater, said he will run for re-election to his congressional seat.

"Today I am asking my friends and neighbors to let me continue doing my job as a member of Congress," Jolly said in a news conference in Clearwater.

He will likely face former Governor Charlie Crist, a Democrat, in the Nov. 8 election.

Rubio, who ended his presidential bid in March, said this week he was reconsidering running and may decide as early as this weekend.

RELATED: 10 facts about Marco Rubio

10 Facts About Marco Rubio
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10 Facts About Marco Rubio

1. His parents, Mario and Oria, are Cuban immigrants.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2. Attended Tarkio College for one year on a football scholarship before he later transferred to Santa Fe College.

(Photo by Phil Coale/AP)

3. When he was sworn into office in 2011, he said that he owed $100,000 of student loans which he finally paid off in 2012.

(Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

4. His wife of 17 years, Jeanette, is of Colombian descent and was once a Miami Dolphins cheerleader.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

5. He went viral with a sip of water. Rubio gave the official Republican reaction to the State of the Union in 2013, but the only detail most people remembered was the moment in which he became so parched that he reached for a water bottle to quench his thirst.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

6. Though he was baptized as an infant in the Catholic church, he was also baptized as Mormon later in childhood when his family lived in Las Vegas. He is now a practicing Catholic.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

7. He teaches political science at Florida International University in Miami.

(Photo by Charles Ommanney for the Washington Post via Getty)

8. He says the first concert he ever attended was a Prince show.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

9. His family used to call him Tony, which came from his middle name Antonio.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

10. Was speaker of the Florida House before he was a U.S. Senator.

(Photo by Phil Coale/AP)


Representatives for Rubio declined to answer questions about his future plans.

At the news conference, Jolly said he fully expects Rubio to run for re-election to the Senate. His spokesman Preston Rudie told Reuters the congressman "had no actual knowledge of a Rubio decision."

Rubio's entry into the senate race would complicate Democrats' efforts to win back a majority in the Senate in the November election.

Republicans won control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election and now hold 54 seats in the 100-seat chamber. Democrats have 44 seats and two independents are aligned with them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have urged Rubio to run despite a pledge during his presidential campaign not to seek re-election. They cited polls showing he is the only Republican who can win the state.

The deadline is June 24 for candidates to file with Florida election officials their intention to run for the Senate. The Republican primary election will be held on Aug. 30. (Reporting by Kouichi Shirayanagi and Richard Cowan; Editing by Susan Heavey and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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