Marco Rubio Won’t Run for Senate in 2016 if He Runs for President

Unlike Rand Paul, the Florida Republican is all or nothing on a possible presidential campaign.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during the American Conservative Union Conference March 6, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The annual conference is a meeting of politically conservatives Americans. 
National Journal
Matt Berman
April 2, 2014, 1:31 p.m.

No mat­ter what Marco Ru­bio de­cides about a 2016 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign, one thing is now clear: The Flor­ida Re­pub­lic­an isn’t go­ing to have it both ways.

Ru­bio, who’s up for reelec­tion in 2016, told Hugh He­witt on Wed­nes­day that if he de­cides to run for pres­id­ent a year from now, he won’t also run for his Sen­ate seat. In Flor­ida, Ru­bio said, “you can’t be on the bal­lot for two dif­fer­ent of­fices … and I think that’s the right law.”

That de­cision con­trasts with what Sen. Rand Paul has been up to in Ken­tucky. The state Sen­ate, with some prod­ding from Paul and his al­lies, passed a bill in March that would al­low Paul to both run for pres­id­ent (if he de­cides to do so) and run for his Sen­ate seat in 2016. Doug Stafford, a seni­or ad­viser to Paul, thanked the Ken­tucky Sen­ate for passing the bill, telling the Lex­ing­ton Her­ald-Lead­er that the state needed “to cla­ri­fy the law to avoid a con­flict with the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.” So far, the state’s House — which is run by Demo­crats — isn’t in­to the idea of passing the bill.

Even if Flor­ida changed its law, what Ru­bio said Wed­nes­day would at least be tricky to get past if he were to change his mind and run for two of­fices. “I think, by and large,” he said, “when you choose to do something as big as [seek­ing the pres­id­ency], you’ve really got to be fo­cused on that and not have an exit strategy.”

There’s plenty of pre­ced­ent for run­ning for two of­fices at once. Rep. Paul Ry­an did it most re­cently in 2012, and Joe Biden ran for both his Sen­ate seat and the vice pres­id­ency in 2008. But as Matt Lewis re­cently wrote for The Daily Caller, run­ning for two of­fices at the same time can pose prob­lems. It could make Ru­bio or Paul look selfish, he writes, and “risks send­ing a dif­fer­ent mes­sage — sig­nal­ing to donors, sup­port­ers, and staffers that you are hedging your bets, and (maybe) they should, too.”

Marco Ru­bio, at least, is de­cid­ing now to take the risk of los­ing everything over the risk of seem­ing cau­tious.

You can catch the au­dio clip here:

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