The Florida Senator was one of the main challengers for the Republican nomination in 2016 before Donald Trump won the contest. It was a brutal and chastening race at times, but with the Democrats back in the White House, will Rubio run for the Republican nomination again?
The elephant in the room is Donald Trump. Despite losing the midterm elections in 2018 and the presidential election in 2020, he still commands sway over the Republican party. It seems like he will run again in 2024.
Of course, Trump will be 78 by then and whether his health holds up or not will play a part. Then, there are the concerns over the Trump Organisation. With multiple investigations into his business ongoing, Trump could be indicted on charges and unavailable to run again.
Whether he runs or not, there will likely be challenges to him. But if he doesn't run, this leaves the field wide open and could see a run from someone like Rubio who still harbors presidential ambitions.
Here's what he had to say in January before the runoffs in Georgia:
"We still have a very strong base in the party of donors and think tanks and intelligentsia from the right who are market fundamentalists, who accuse anyone who's not a market fundamentalist of being a socialist to some degree. If the takeaway from all of them is now is the time to go back to sort of the traditional party of unfettered free trade, I think we're gonna lose the [Trump] base as quickly as we got it. ... We can't just go back to being that,"
While this isn't a declaration he plans to run, it's a clear signal he has a plan to attract voters should he decide to. Rubio would garner a lot of support in the party but it's unsure how much would fall behind him. With figures like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice-President Mike Pence and Texas Senator Ted Cruz expected to run, he's up against some formidable opponents.
In the meantime, Rubio has to focus on the midterm elections in 2022 where he will hope to remain the Republican nominee for the Senate in Florida. There were rumors Ivanka Trump might challenge Rubio for the nomination but that seems unlikely now. This would seem to give Rubio a clear shot at the nomination.
Should he win it will give him a strong base from which to launch a presidential campaign in 2024 if he decides to do so.
Whatever happens, it's clear the race to be the Republican nominee for the White House in 2024 is far from certain. It's one that Florida Senator Rubio could play a big part in as we edge closer to 2024.
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