Trump hands Rubio coveted reelection endorsement in Florida

Former President Trump on Friday endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio’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.

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 Demings (D-Fla.) and Stephanie Murphy (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 Nelson (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 DeSantis on the ballot. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections 2022 Senate elections Bill Nelson Donald Trump Endorsement Florida Florida politics Florida Senate race Marco Rubio Ron DeSantis Stephanie Murphy Trump endorsement Val Demings

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