Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping Marco Rubio, a Florida senator, decides to change his mind and run for reelection in the Senate.
During a Tuesday interview with Business Insider to promote his newly released memoir, “The Long Game,” the Senate majority leader said a Rubio reentry into the race would be “good for him” and “good for the Senate.”
“Well, we don’t know yet whether Marco is willing to run again,” McConnell said.
But if he does, “it will be good for him, good for the Senate, and he can win,” McConnell added. “Therefore, it’d make it much more likely that we’ll have a Senate majority this year.”
McConnell said there was “ample time” for Rubio to jump into the race, noting the Sunshine State’s June 24 filing deadline and the fact that the state holds its Senate primaries in August.
“I hope he will decide to run again,” McConnell said.
Watch McConnell’s comments below:
Last week, it was reported that McConnell had been vocal in pushing the senator and former 2016 Republican presidential candidate to reclaim his seat.
McConnell conducted an informal survey at a GOP caucus lunch last Thursday, according to Politico, during which he asked senators whether they wanted Rubio to jump back into the race for his seat.
Every hand in the room was reportedly raised.
McConnell’s comments highlight the recent push from all corners of the party to urge Rubio to reconsider a bid for reelection.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee who was exceedingly critical of Rubio during the presidential primary, has pushed him to run.
“Poll data shows that @marcorubio does by far the best in holding onto his Senate seat in Florida,” Trump tweeted last Thursday. “Important to keep the MAJORITY.”
“Run Marco!” he exclaimed.
The Florida battle for Rubio’s seat is one of the most heavily contested contests in the nation — and to Trump’s point, polling doesn’t look great for Republicans. With control of the Senate in flux, the state is a near must-win for the GOP to retain a majority in the upper chamber of Congress and for McConnell to maintain his status as majority leader.
Rubio’s preferred candidate in the GOP primary is Carlos Lopez-Cantera, the lieutenant governor of the state and a close friend of the senator. One problem for Lopez-Cantera? He’s getting crushed in the polls by US Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy, who are competing for the Democratic nomination. He’s also facing a glut of four other primary challengers.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that aired Sunday, Rubio said that he would have “maybe” considered running for reelection had Lopez-Cantera not jumped into the race.
“I didn’t run. I said I wasn’t going to. He got into the race,” Rubio said. “I think he’s put in time and energy to it and he deserves the chance to see where he can take it.”
He also said that reporting that emerged during his failed presidential bid that claimed he “hated” being in the Senate was particularly frustrating. He insisted that he did not hate his time there.
Rubio said: “If my term had ended in 2018 instead of 2016, I might very well have run for reelection.”
Watch more of our interview with the Senate majority leader here:
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