After Jeb Bush announced his intention to run in 2016, the speculation turned to Florida Senator Marco Rubio and whether the junior senator would now be bumped out of the race. The reason for that speculation is due to the fact that Bush and Rubio share much of the same donor base and circle of political contacts within the state of Florida. The theory went that if Jeb runs, there won’t be room for Rubio.
Rubio vehemently denies that will be case if he chooses to seek the presidency and provided some insight into his 2016 plans in a recent interview. Report from the Sun-Sentinel:
In an interview with The Associated Press, the 43-year-old first-term senator said he had yet to make a final decision about whether to seek re-election to the Senate or run for president in 2016, but he spoke more confidently about making a bid for the White House than he has in the past.
“I believe that if I decide to run for president, we have a path to be a very competitive candidate, and ultimately to win,” Rubio said.
“I can’t guarantee a victory. Certainly these races will be very competitive, and there’s factors outside of our control that will determine a lot of it,” he said. “But if we made the decision to run for president, I believe that we can put together the organization and raise the money necessary to win.”
Should he run for president, Rubio reiterated Wednesday, he’ll do so at the expense of seeking re-election to the Senate.
“If you decide that you’re going to run for president of the United States, that’s what you need to run for. You need to be focused,” Rubio said. “If I decide to run for president, I’ll run for president. And I’m not going to be looking for some exit strategy or off-ramp in case things don’t work out.”
To be that forceful with a declaration that he believes he can in fact win tells me he is trying to muscle his way back into the conversation. If Jeb had passed on a 2016 run, he would ultimately be campaigning for Rubio and could be a good asset for him.
However, as it stands now, Rubio is at a disadvantage since much of the political energy in Florida on the Republican side will be trending toward Jeb. Anything from campaign advisers, staffers, and donors may be swallowed by the Bush campaign leaving Rubio reaching further to build an organization. That isn’t to say it can’t be done, it just presents a new challenge.