Rubio Contemplates Senate Run After Orlando Shooting

Florida senator says he'll think about "how I can best serve"

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says the shooting in his home state gives him pause. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday that seeking another term as a senator from Florida has not been part of his family's plan, but the mass shooting Sunday in Orlando has given him pause about his future.  

"My family and I will be praying about all this, and we'll see what I need to do next with my life with regards to how I can best serve," the former presidential candidate told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.  

Fifty people including the gunman were killed in the shooting at a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando early Sunday morning.   

[ Florida Senators: Orlando Shooting Appears to Be Terror Attack ]  

Hewitt asked if Rubio would reconsider his decision to not seek another term, trying to push him toward running in the process, citing Rubio's foreign policy knowledge.  

"I haven't even given a thought in that perspective, other than to say that I've been deeply impacted. And I think when it visits your home state, when it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about, you know, your service to your country and where you are most useful to your country," Rubio said.  

"We live in a very dramatic moment in our history," he added. "I think we are at a tipping point here moving into the next election. Irrespective of who the next president is, I think we're going to face some real foreign policy challenges given some of the things both candidates have outlined."  

Rubio has been openly pushed to run for re-election by many in the Republican establishment, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The filing deadline is June 24.  

[ Republican Urge Rubio to Reconsider Senate Run ]  

"I haven't thought about it from a political perspective, but it most certainly has impacted my thinking in general about a lot of things," Rubio said.  

"I have a friend of mine who's running for the U.S. Senate," Rubio said, a reference to Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. "I really don't want to link the two things right now because I don't want politics to intrude in all of this."  

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pointed to Rubio's vote against the Democrat-led version of legislation designed to bar individuals on terror watch lists from buying guns as something he should think about in pondering a run for another term.  

"It's disappointing that Senator Rubio would use this tragedy to raise speculation about his political future, and if he reconsiders anything this week it should be his vote to leave open the terrorist gun loophole and let suspected terrorists continue to have access to guns," DSCC spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said.

Contact Lesniewski at  nielslesniewski@cqrollcall.com  and follow him on Twitter  @nielslesniewski .

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