Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio downplayed his performance in the four states that held GOP caucuses or primaries on Saturday, saying that he had had long known “this would be the roughest period of the campaign.”
But so far on Super Saturday, Rubio has failed to meet the threshold to qualify for any delegates in Louisiana and Maine.
The Florida senator is eyeing his home state, which will vote on March 15, as the turning point for his campaign. There are 99 delegates up for grabs in that winner-take-all contest, although front-runner Donald Trump leads in the polls.
“Here’s the bottom line,” Rubio said. “There will be more delegates awarded in Florida than basically any other state that voted tonight combined. It’s a winner-take-all state. The states that voted tonight are important and we’re going to leave tonight with more delegates than we had. I’ve explained repeatedly this is a proportional process and every night that we have caucuses like there were tonight in three states, we continue to pick up delegates.”
Rubio said his rivals pegged the Super Saturday states as places they’d do well, and that the map “gets friendlier” for him on March 15.
“There are clearly states in which some of my opponents do better than us because it fits the profile they’ve targeted. We understood that,” Rubio said. “We’ve continued to look at the delegate math because we understand that this is going to be a very different kind of primary where the delegates are going to count.”
“That’s why I’m here tonight in Puerto Rico and will continue to campaign in Florida, but we’re also going to continue to go to other states to increase our delegate total, and the map only gets friendlier for us after tonight. … We knew this would be the roughest period of the campaign, given the make-up of the electoral map.”
Early voting in Florida started on Saturday, and ads have hit the airwaves touting Rubio and bashing Trump.
Some of those ads aired as cable networks reported that Rubio finished a distant third place in Kansas, despite campaigning heavily there and having the support of Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat RobertsPat RobertsUSDA to ease school meal standards Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Overnight Energy: Trump to sign orders on offshore drilling, national monuments MORE, and former senator and one-time GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole.
Rubio is battling with John Kasich for a third place finish in Kentucky.
Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSeven key players for Trump on immigration Spicer: Media coverage of Trump has not been fair Kasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 MORE and Ted CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit MORE both called on Rubio to drop out of the race on Saturday night.