Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) hinted Tuesday he’d run for president even if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) does.
He added: “And I would bet you if he was here today he’d give you the exact same answer. I think that’s the way you approach a decision of that magnitude, is based on your own criteria, not on what someone else might or might not do.”
Both Rubio and Bush have made no secret of their interest in the 2016 presidential race, but it’s assumed that the two Floridians would choose not to compete against each other.
They have a longstanding political relationship dating back to Rubio’s 1998 run for West Miami City Commission, and many of Bush’s former aides worked for Rubio during his time as Speaker of the Florida House.
And if they both chose to run, they would likely compete for the same universe of donors and supporters in their home state, though Bush is emerging as the establishment favorite, while Rubio would likely make a play for more conservative voters.
On Tuesday, Rubio said Bush would make a “very formidable candidate” for the office.
Neither prospective candidate has yet made a public decision, though both have said they plan to do so before the end of the year.
But Rubio has a sense of humor about the potential rivalry.
When asked about whether he’d be willing to face Bush in a primary, Rubio initially joked, “Well I hadn’t heard he was interested,” to laughter from the crowd.