Trump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE on Friday endorsed Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioI'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement Florida looms large in Republican 2024 primary MORE’s (R-Fla.) reelection bid in Florida, throwing his support behind the incumbent senator and former GOP presidential primary foe in his adopted home state.

“It is my honor to give U.S. Senator Marco Rubio my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in a statement. “Marco has been a tireless advocate for the people of Florida, fighting to cut taxes, supporting our Second Amendment, our Military and our Vets, a strong national defense, and all of the forgotten men and women of America.”

In endorsing Rubio, Trump has put his political weight behind his former rival-turned-ally. Rubio competed with Trump in 2016 for the GOP’s presidential nomination, though he won only three primary contests in Minnesota, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. He suspended his campaign after finishing behind Trump in Florida.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rubio is seen as a potential contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, along with Trump, who has floated the idea of a comeback campaign after losing the White House last year.

Both Rubio and Trump are expected to appear at the Republican National Committee’s spring donor retreat in Palm Beach, Fla., over the weekend.

Rubio is seen as the obvious front-runner in the Florida GOP Senate primary and faces only nominal opposition from within his own party. Democrats, meanwhile, have yet to draft a top-tier candidate into the Senate race, though possible contenders include Reps. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsFlorida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal help to expand COVID-19 testing Democrats look back on Jan. 6 with emotion Jan. 6 brings Democrats, Cheneys together — with GOP mostly absent MORE (D-Fla.) and Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Florida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal help to expand COVID-19 testing MORE (D-Fla.). 

For Democrats, more focus has been placed on rebuilding their struggling state party following a difficult four years in Florida. Trump carried the state in 2016 and 2020, and Republicans successfully ousted former Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Energy & Environment — Earth records its hottest years ever Global temperatures in past seven years hottest ever observed, new data show NASA welcomes chief scientist, senior climate adviser in new dual role MORE (D-Fla.) in 2018, giving the GOP control of both of the state’s Senate seats. 

Democrats also lost two House seats in South Florida last year after flipping them in 2018. The GOP now holds 16 of the state’s 27 seats in the lower chamber.

Still, Florida is considered a perennial battleground, and Democrats are expected to contest it aggressively in 2022, especially with Rubio and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida health official suspended amid investigation into vaccines for state employees George Conway: DeSantis plans for new police force to monitor elections 'just pathetic' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Schumer tees up doomed election reform vote MORE on the ballot.