FL-Senate: Rubio's Running (Still)
Former Florida state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) will not exit the state's open seat Senate race despite facing long odds and a cash deficit against Gov. Charlie Crist (R), according to sources familiar with his decision.
"He's committed to the Senate race," said one Rubio adviser who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. "In case there was any doubt, last week he made it clear in public and private meetings."
Rubio will be in Washington tomorrow for a series of meetings and will hold a press availability at 5:45 p.m. where he is expected to re-assert his commitment to the race.
Over the last week (or so), Rubio made calls to Florida political types to explore the possibility of leaving the Senate race -- and entering the open contest for state attorney general -- following the release of campaign finance reports that showed Crist raking in $4.3 million to Rubio's $340,000 between April 1 and June 30.
Rubio's decision to stay in the race -- allies insist he is committed to seeing the primary out no matter what -- complicates, slightly, Crist's glide path to the Senate.
Rubio has won support from several national conservatives including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and his campaign is doing everything they can to turn the race into a referendum on the future direction of the GOP.
As we have written before, however, if Rubio can't stay within shouting distance of Crist financially, the effort to cast the contest as a battle for the ideological soul of the Republican party won't materialize.
The third fundraising quarter, which covers money collected and spent between July 1 and Sept. 30, is absolutely critical to Rubio. He'll never be the money machine that Crist is but another quarter of being outraised at a 10-1 clip would make him irrelevant whether he is in the race or out of it.
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