Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder MORE's (R-Fla.) campaign is pushing back on a report that some advisers want him to drop out of the presidential race before his home state primary on March 15.
Alex Conant, Rubio's communications director, called the report “100 percent false.”
He continued his attack in a fundraising email, writing, "They carried the story as breaking news, live, on air, without speaking with a single person on our campaign. That’s complete malpractice."
Sen. Jim RischJim RischA guide to the committees: Senate Ryan tries to save tax plan Senate GOP votes to silence Warren after speech against Sessions MORE (R-Idaho), a Rubio supporter, continued to try to debunk the report on “CNN Out Front" Monday evening
"I sat at the table with advisers, including the senior advisers to the campaign. I can tell you there was not even a hint that that was the issue,” Risch said. “Indeed we had deep and lengthy discussions about Florida, the strategy there, how they're going forward in Florida.”
He continued: “To repeat a rumor like this without foundation and naming the person who is supposed to be putting this out really just isn't fair, because these rumors get started and people repeat them."
Conant later accused CNN of cancelling an 8 p.m. appearance he was set to make.
CNN on Monday reported there is a debate raging within the Rubio camp about whether he has any chance of winning the Florida primary.
“He doesn’t want to get killed in his home state,” one source familiar with the discussions told CNN. “A poor showing would be a risk and hurt his political future.”
The sources told CNN they are fearful that Rubio's campaign will take another hit on Tuesday, when he might fare poorly in the GOP contests in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii.
"CNN had multiple sources on this reporting, and we stand by it 100 percent," the network said in a statement late Monday.
In dismissing the report, Conant cited Rubio’s recent poll numbers in Florida.
A new Monmouth University poll released Monday found Rubio trailing Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMcCain says he hasn't met with Trump since inauguration Mulvaney: Let states figure out 'essential health benefits' How President Trump can restore sanity to America's labor laws MORE by only 8 points in the state. Earlier polls showed Trump with a double-digit lead.
Florida is one of the biggest contests on the primary calendar. Aside from being one of the most important battleground states in the country, its 99 Republican delegates are winner-take-all.
Rubio remains "bullish" about his chances in the state, according to the CNN report.
--This report was updated on March 8 at 11:20 a.m.