Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has said for months that he will not seek re-election to the Senate once his term expires in January. But Sunday’s mass shooting that claimed 50 lives in an Orlando gay nightclub may have him reconsidering his future service, he told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt Monday.
"I’ve been deeply impacted by it,” Rubio said, after Hewitt asked if Rubio’s plan to not seek re-election had changed. “I think when it visits your home state, when it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country."
Rubio denied that he was reconsidering his future explicitly from “a political perspective,” but said “it most certainly has impacted my thinking in general, at least, about a lot of things.”
“My family and I will be praying about all of this,” he added. “And we’ll see what I need to do next with my life with regard to how I can best serve.”
Rubio has insisted he will not run again for his Senate seat, despite calls to do so from his Republican colleagues and even presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who fear that Rubio’s departure will weaken the Republican Party’s hold of the Senate. Rubio has also rejected speculation that he would run for Florida’s governorship in 2018.
Rubio, if he decided last-minute to launch a Senate re-election bid, has until June 24 to file to run for his old Senate seat. He would face a crowded field that includes his friend and Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera, who Rubio has said he supports in the August Republican primary.
Hewitt alluded to Rubio’s friendship with López-Cantera on Twitter but publicly wondered if that friend would step aside for another Rubio run:
Rubio had not tweeted anything indicating his future plans as of Monday morning. His most recent tweet urged Florida residents to consider donating blood after Sunday’s shooting.