Top Republican urges Rubio to run for reelection
© Greg Nash

A top GOP senator is urging Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump feuds heat up Rubio to introduce legislation to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats Stop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave MORE to run for reelection, despite public reservations from the Florida Republican.

“Marco Rubio is a very valuable member of the Senate ... and earlier this afternoon, I strongly encouraged him to reconsider his decision and seek re-election," Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump keeps tight grip on GOP Brexit and exit: A transatlantic comparison Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (R-Tenn.) said in a statement Thursday. 


He touted Rubio's work on the Foreign Relations Committee, which Corker oversees, saying "he demonstrates a deep understanding of foreign policy."

CNN is reporting that Rubio, who ended his presidential bid earlier this year, is facing "pressure" from strategists and GOP lawmakers to jump in the race before the June 24 filing deadline. 

Rubio, however, brushed off speculation that he would change his mind less than an hour before Corker publicly threw his support having him run for reelection.

He told reporters that he made the decision not to run for reelection before he started his presidential campaign and "I live by that decision." 

"Like I said, I enjoy serving with my colleagues. I respect them very much. I'll always listen to what they have to say, but, you know, I don't think anything's going to change," he added. 

While Rubio dismissed questions that he received "pressure" from his colleagues, he acknowledged being approached about the Senate race on Thursday.

Rubio is close friends with Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who is vying to replace him, and cited their friendship as one reason it was unlikely he would change his mind. 

But asked Thursday if he would refuse to run for reelection if party leaders made the case that only he could keep the Florida Senate seat in the Republican column, Rubio demurred.

"Well, like I said, guys ... this is just something that happened today and, for me, I haven't even had time to even talk to anybody about it, but my sense of it is nothing has changed," he said. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee jumped in on the speculation with a "statement" showing a map of the Florida GOP primary results, in which Rubio lost to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE by nearly 19 points.

This story was updated at 3:40 p.m.