Poll: Over half want Carson for Rubio’s Senate seat

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More than half of GOP Sunshine State Senate primary voters would back Ben Carson replacing Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioWar over the estate tax returns Clinton’s strategy: Get under Trump’s skin Rubio, Heck help out at car crash scene MORE (R-Fla.), according to a new poll.

About 56 percent would vote for the unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate if he were to run, according to a News 13/Bay News 9 survey released Monday.

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Another 18 percent would back Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.), followed by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), at 11 percent.

Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera (R-Fla.) ranks third, just missing double-digit voter support with 9 percent.

A trio of Florida Republicans completes the field, with Todd Wilcox at 7 percent, Ilya Katz at 4 percent and Carlos Beruff at 1 percent. Roughly 34 percent remain undecided, pollsters added, while 16 percent favor another unlisted candidate.

News 13/Bay News 9 conducted its latest survey of 724 likely GOP Senate primary voters in Florida via home phones and smart devices from March 4-6. It has a 3.7 percent margin of error.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee refused comment on Monday about whether Carson may seek the upcoming Senate vacancy.

“[We’ve heard] rumors floating around in various news reports,” a NRSC spokesman told News 13.

Republicans are anxious to keep Rubio’s Senate seat from Democratic control once his presidential campaign concludes.

Carson suspended his GOP presidential campaign last Friday, ending weeks of speculation about his path forward.

The retired neurosurgeon announced he is next serving as national chairman of My Faith Votes, a nonpartisan organization that focuses on outreach to Christian voters.

Rubio, for his part, trails Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRestive GOP freshmen eye entitlement reform What will be October’s surprise? Poll: Half of Trump supporters don't trust integrity of election MORE by 8 points in his home state, according to a Monmouth University survey out Monday.

Florida’s GOP presidential primary next Tuesday is must-win for Rubio, who would lack a path toward the Republican nomination without a victory there.