Marco Rubio gets to keep his U.S. Senate seat—something he promised to do after now President-Elect Donald Trump won the Republican primary. Rubio successfully beat back a challenge from Congressman Patrick Murphy.
It seems like forever ago when Marco Rubio decided to leave the Senate to run for President, vowing to leave politics if his bid failed. It did.
“I changed my mind because number one, I never said I was perfect or had every answer," Rubio said on CNN back in June. "And when you aren’t perfect and you don’t have every answer, there will become times when you’ll change your mind.”
Suddenly Rubio was back in the Senate race, and the Republican field largely cleared for him. He handily defeated Central Florida home builder Carlos Beruff in a primary. On the Democratic side, Congressman Patrick Murphy was looking like a strong contender for the seat until Rubio’s reappearance. The Democratic Party had been prepared to financially back Murphy’s bid, but after Rubio jumped into the race, the money failed to appear. And on election night, Rubio cruised to re-election, delivering a unity message to his supporters:
“You can disagree with someone without hating them. And you can disagree with them without de-legitimizing their point of view.”
Rubio has repeatedly said he decided to run for re-election because he believes the outcome of the Presidential election warrants someone like him in the Senate.
“I honestly believe that no matter who is elected President, we’re going to need a senate for the people who will act as a check and balance on the next President," he said on CNN.
Rubio repeatedly blasted now President-elect Donald Trump on the campaign trail, and though Rubio did endorse Trump, that support was tepid, at best. And as for Murphy? Election night saw him conceding the race to Rubio.
“Obviously we were expecting and hoping for a different result this evening, but the people of Florida have spoken, and at the end of the day I respect their choice.”
Murphy says at this point, it’s time for Floridians to come together. That’s a constant down- ballot from losing campaigns. Democrats suffered big losses this election cycle. Hopes of capturing more Congressional seats were dashed. Republicans have a majority in Congress, the Presidency and the majority of state legislatures.
**WLRN in Miami contributed to this report.