WASHINGTON (UPI) — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he is now open to rejoining the race for his Senate seat, which he had planned to give up after just six years in office.
Republican Party leaders have been clamoring for Rubio to run for re-election. The five-way GOP primary to replace Rubio has thus far failed to produce a top-tier candidate and Republicans hoping to retain control of the Senate have been eager for Rubio, who enjoys full name recognition in Florida, to reconsider retiring after only one term in office.
A recent poll found nearly half of Florida voters said they thought Rubio should run for a second term.
Florida’s open seat race figured to be one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country, and a potential tipping point for the parties in their battle for a Senate majority.
The filing deadline for Florida’s primary is one of the latest in the country. Rubio has until June 24 to file nominating petitions to have his name appear on the ballot.
Rubio dropped out of the GOP race in March after he was trounced in his home state’s presidential primary by Donald Trump.
Rubio had widely been seen as avoiding the Senate race out of a desire to work in the private sector, and because a close friend, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, is one of the candidates in the race to succeed him.
Politico reported Wednesday the two men spoke at length in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, when Lopez-Cantera encouraged Rubio to run for re-election.
“This is bigger than me,” Lopez-Cantera told Politico, recounting his conversation with Rubio. “And this isn’t about me. And it’s not about you. It’s about our country and this election. It’s deeply consequential … In the current field, I’m the best candidate in the general election. But I’m not looking at this through rose-colored glasses.”
Rubio confirmed the conversation to NBC News and said he would take through this weekend to discuss running for re-election with his family before arriving at a decision.
Lopez-Cantera said he would not file his nominating petitions for the Florida primary if Rubio decides to run.
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