Top Republican urges Rubio to run for reelection
© Greg Nash

A top GOP senator is urging Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioJon Stewart accuses VA of being 'an obstacle' to burn pits medical care Family policy that could appeal to the right and the left Exclusive: GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee 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 CorkerFox News inks contributor deal with former Democratic House member Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 MORE (R-Tenn.) said in a statement Thursday. 

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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 TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE by nearly 19 points.

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