Rubio's friend: If he runs for Senate, I'm out of race
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Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) says he would end his race to succeed Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: 'Whistleblower' furor gains steam Liberal super PAC launches browser extension replacing 'Mitch McConnell' with 'Moscow Mitch' Trump faces difficult balancing act with reelection campaign MORE if his “close friend” changes his mind and decides to seek reelection.

Following the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub, Lopez-Cantera told Politico about a conversation he had with Rubio, urging him to reconsider his decision to retire from the Senate after failing to secure the GOP White House nomination this year.

“You should reconsider running for your seat,” Lopez-Cantera says he told Rubio.


“I don’t want you to feel like you have to say that because of outside pressure,” Rubio responded.

“This is bigger than me. And this isn’t about me. And it’s not about you. It’s about our country and this election,” Lopez-Cantera said to Rubio. “It’s deeply consequential … In the current field, I’m the best candidate in the general election. But I’m not looking at this through rose-colored glasses.”

But until Rubio signals his plans about his political future, Lopez-Cantera is still running for the seat, which could be pivotal in controls of the upper chamber.

“Nothing has changed. I’m still running. Marco isn’t,” Lopez-Cantera said.

Republican party leaders, and in particular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Overnight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts MORE (R-Ky.), have been publicly urging Rubio to reverse course and run for his seat.

Rubio had brushed off the calls from his colleagues and cited Lopez-Cantera as a reason. He further tamped down speculation when it was reported he’d headline a fundraiser for Lopez-Cantera the same day as the filing deadline on June 24.

But in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Rubio said he needs to “pause and think” about his political future. In a Monday interview with radio show host Hugh Hewitt, Rubio said the shooting left him thinking about service to his country and community, but stopped short of saying he was reconsidering his decision to not run for reelection.

Politico reported that Rubio’s interview with Hewitt occurred about 12 hours after he spoke with Lopez-Cantera.

“Until I mentioned this, he was really committed to spending time with his kids, being able to be home for more than 10 days without having to go somewhere on the campaign trail or back to Washington. He looked forward to coaching his son’s football team,” Lopez-Cantera told Politico.

“I brought this up. It wasn’t mutual,” he added. “He is in a position where he will make a decision. We’re friends. We support each other.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.), another Senate GOP hopeful, said he’ll make an announcement on Friday about whether he’ll remain in the GOP primary or run for reelection in his redistricted House seat.

"I will make an announcement Friday about my future intentions in Congress," Jolly said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends,” adding, "I would support Marco if he gets in the race.”

Jolly has repeatedly said he’ll abandon his bid to replace Rubio if he decides to file for reelection. He said he would also call on his GOP opponents to also drop out of the race if Rubio ran.

The crowded GOP field also includes Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and businessmen Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox.

The primary will be held on Aug. 30.