With a month left to change his mind, Marco Rubio is facing more pressure to run for a second term in the Senate.
Rubio had been pretty clear during his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination that he did not plan to run for another term in the Senate. But Republicans are increasingly nervous about losing control of the Senate in November as GOP senators in blue states--Mark Kirk of Illinois, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania--look vulnerable.
On Thursday, CNN reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky urged members of the Republican caucus to ask Rubio to run for another term and some members responded.
“I think it would be good for the party, it would be good for the Senate -- I'd like to see him do it," Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told CNN. "I hear a lot of buzz around here from members and others; that's a conversation we need to have."
National Republican Senatorial Committee Roger Wicker of Mississippi also said Rubio should run for another term, telling CNN it is a “very real development" and “within the realm of possibility."
“Marco Rubio is a very valuable member of the Senate ... and earlier this afternoon, I strongly encouraged him to reconsider his decision and seek re-election," Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker told The Hill on Thursday.
Rubio dismissed the possibility on Thursday. "I haven't had time to talk to about it but my sense of it is nothing has changed," Rubio told the media.
In the meantime, Republicans have expressed concerns about their field of candidates in Florida who remain largely unknown three months before the primary. The field includes Congressmen Ron DeSantis and David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, businessman and Army veteran Todd Wilcox and businessman Carlos Beruff.
If he does change his mind, Rubio has until June 24 to enter the race though his staff downplayed that possibility. Rubio’s decision would also be a blow to his friend Lopez-Cantera. A crowded field of Republicans have lined up to run for DeSantis’ seat while Democrats have high hopes for flipping Jolly’s seat which now leans Democratic after the latest congressional redistricting.
Rubio floundered badly in the Florida primary back in March, beating Donald Trump only in Miami Dade while losing the other 66 counties in the state.