Florida Rep. David Jolly announced Friday he will no longer seek a U.S. Senate seat, potentially paving the way for Sen. Marco Rubio to seek re-election. The announcement comes amid growing speculation that Rubio would run for re-election, despite repeatedly saying he had no interest in doing so.
“Marco is saying he's getting in,” Jolly, who has been running to replace Rubio, said on CNN.
Rubio was running for the Republican presidential nomination until he dropped out in March. While running for president, Rubio made it clear that he did not enjoy his job in the Senate, and said he was glad to be done with it. Since ending his White House bid, Rubio has said he has no interest in returning to the Senate or in being a vice presidential candidate to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
However, Senate Republicans think Rubio reclaiming his seat would help them keep a majority in the Senate, the Washington Post reported, so they have been pressuring to rethink his decision. And then this week, after the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, Rubio told reporters that the tragedy was making him reconsider.
“Obviously, I take very seriously everything that’s going on — not just Orlando, but in our country,” Rubio said. “I enjoy my service here a lot. So I’ll go home later this week, and I’ll have some time with my family, and then if there’s been a change in our status, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.”
After Jolly’s comments on CNN on Friday, his spokesperson clarified that the representative had no specific knowledge of Rubio’s plans.
Still, at a news conference in Clearwater, Florida, Jolly said he would be seeking re-election to the House of Representatives rather than looking to move up to the Senate. There, he will likely face former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, in the general election.
“Today I am asking my friends and neighbors to let me continue doing my job as a member of Congress,” Jolly said at the news conference.
He reiterated that he expects Rubio to run for re-election in the Senate, Reuters reported. Rubio has until June 24 to file to run in the Senate race. He has said he will be going home to the Sunshine State to discuss the possibility with his family. The primary for that race will take place Aug. 30.