Senate Republicans are desperately trying to persuade Sen. Marco Rubio to run for re-election , convinced he’s likely the only candidate capable of holding a battleground seat.
To which Senate Democrats are now responding: Don’t be so sure.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a memo Friday making the case why Rubio would be a weak general election candidate. The political committee cited his weak showing in Florida’s GOP presidential primary, where he lost badly to Donald Trump , a poor attendance record in the Senate, and his position on abortion rights .
“After suffering a crushing defeat in his home state that forced him to drop out of the GOP presidential primary, Rubio has returned to the U.S. Senate — the job he admitted disliking — a deeply damaged and unpopular figure in his home state,” the memo said.
Speculation that Rubio might run again reached a frenzy this week after Republicans, including nearly all of the former presidential candidate’s colleagues in the Senate, urged him to run for re-election. Rubio has said repeatedly that he won’t seek another term in the Senate, but the filing deadline to become a candidate in Florida is June 24.
Many Senate GOP operatives still consider a Rubio return a long shot. But the Florida senator did stoke further speculation during a CNN interview released Friday, in which he said he might consider running if his friend, Florida Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera , wasn’t in the race.
“Sure, maybe,” Rubio said. “I enjoyed my work in the Senate.”
Despite the DSCC’s protestation, the first-term lawmaker would likely make a stronger general election than any of the five major Republicans currently seeking the GOP nomination — thanks to his high name identification and national fundraising network.
But Democrats are trying to make the case that even if the GOP thinks he’s a stronger candidate, he still wouldn’t win re-election.
“This desperate Hail Mary by panicked Republicans shows just how much trouble they are in in Florida,” said the DSCC’s memo. “It might make headlines, but it won’t work. Rubio won’t be Florida’s senator come 2017, whether he runs or not.”