Rubio ignores Tuesday contests to focus on Florida

Getty Images

Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio: Turkey attack 'directed' by ISIS Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office GOP mega-donor: Trump would cause 'global depression' MORE avoided any mention of the day’s four primaries in a Tuesday speech and instead set his focus solely on his home state of Florida, where he trails Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump warns against Syrian refugees: 'A lot of those people are ISIS' Cleveland takes out M insurance policy for convention Man who allegedly planned to kill Trump charged MORE by a significant margin. 

"It always comes down to Florida and it will again this year. Not once but twice we will have to decide the presidency here, but it starts tonight," Rubio said during a rally in Florida. 

"I believe with all my heart that the winner of the Florida Republican primary will be the nominee."

The Florida senator has set expectations sky-high with Florida and its 99 delegates as a potential last stand for his campaign. His staff has regularly taken to the television circuit to talk up Rubio's chances in Florida, and he sent out a fundraising pitch to donors promising to divert 100 percent of the proceeds to the Sunshine State. 

But Donald Trump stands in his way – the GOP front-runner is averaging 16 points ahead of Rubio in recent polling, according to RealClearPolitics. 

His Florida speech came just as the polls began to close in Mississippi, where Trump was quickly projected to win as Rubio trailed in fourth place. If he falls under the 15 percent threshold there or in Michigan, he will not receive any of those states’ delegates.

The speech shied away from the off-color attacks against Donald Trump, but he did make a reference to the man most likely to deal him a deathblow in Florida. 

"It’s not enough to stand up here and say we’re going to make America great again, you deserve to know how," he said. 

"If you don’t know the how, how do you hold anyone accountable?"

More in Senate races

Poll: Rubio leads both Dems in Florida Senate race

Read more »