MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sen. Marco Rubio has won the Florida GOP nomination to seek a second Senate term, a decision he made at the last minute after his failed presidential bid.
Rubio beat millionaire developer Carlos Beruff, the only major GOP candidate to stay in the race after Rubio decided to run for re-election two days before the deadline to make the ballot. He had said for months he wouldn’t run again no matter what happened in the presidential race.
His turnabout emptied the field as candidates such as Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera, U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis and David Jolly and businessman Todd Wilcox all dropped out of the race.
Rubio celebrated with supporters in Central Florida.
He said he’s looking forward to facing off against his democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.
Rubio said Murphy is a rich guy who has accomplished little in Congress or as a private businessman.
“Here in America, if Patrick Murphy wants to be a U.S. Senator, he has to beat the son of a bartender and a maid who came to this country for a better life,” Rubio said to a cheering crowd.
Republican leaders encouraged Rubio to change his mind, seeing him as the best home to keep his seat in GOP hands as Democrats sought to regain a majority in the Senate.
Also today, before the results came in, Rubio told CNN he can’t commit to serving a full term in the Senate should he be re-elected.
“No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future is gonna hold in your life, personally or politically,” Rubio said. “I can commit to you this: That is that if I am running to be a U.S. Senator, I am fully prepared to allow the U.S. Senate to be the last political office I ever hold.”
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)