Following a disappointing showing in his home state in the Mega Tuesday primaries, junior Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dropped out of the 2016 GOP race. The news came as a bit of a surprise, even to seasoned political pundits, many of whom had taken Rubio at his word when the third-place candidate promised to campaign in Utah later in the week, no matter the outcome of the March 15 elections. At a rally in Miami on Tuesday, a somber Rubio took to the podium to address his supporters and thank them for their support.
“There’s nothing more you could have done,” said Rubio. “[America] is in the middle of a real political storm — a real tsunami. We should have seen this coming.” The senator then added that he had been battling his “whole lifeagainst the so-called elites” of Washington, and that he was proud not to have been swayed to the far end of the spectrum either.
“From a political standpoint, the easiest thing to have done in this campaign is to jump on all those anxieties [that Americans have],” Rubio said. “I chose a different route, and I’m proud of that.”
The junior senator has faced meager poll numbers in recent days, with a RealClearPolitics aggregate placing Rubio at an average of around 18 percentage points behind Trump in most major Florida polls. Still, Rubio’s camp had promised to push on to Utah, where the senator this week insisted he would be campaigning, win or lose.
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Image: Gage Skidmore