Marco Rubio might be dropping out sooner than most thought. It could be any day now. Even before the primary in his home state of Florida.
Publicly, the campaign is maintaining they are still a contender in this race, touting a Sunday win in Puerto Rico’s primary that delivered Rubio 23 delegates. But privately, the campaign is having a debate about whether or not he should remain in the mix — even for his home state of Florida’s primary.
“He doesn’t want to get killed in his home state,” one source familiar with the discussions said, noting “a poor showing would be a risk and hurt his political future.”
Polls show Rubio trailing GOP front-runner Donald Trump in Florida. A Monmouth poll released Monday shows Rubio behind Trump, 38% to 30%. A Quinnipiac poll released two weeks ago put Rubio behind Trump by a wider margin: 44% to 28%.
Most of his advisers agree he does not have a path to the nomination and some are advising him to get out ahead of the March 15 primary.
“Cruz won his home state. If Rubio can’t win his, that’s a problem,” one prominent supporter said.
But others within the campaign are urging Rubio to stay in the race, predicting a better-than-expected finish in Florida.
Rubio’s victory for his Senate seat against the governor makes him optimistic he can come from behind, said one source close to the campaign. The senator also believes his experience in the state translates to a superior ground game and infrastructure than that of his competitors.
The latter line of thinking seems to be winning, for the moment. But a particularly awful Tuesday could change the rationale, a source warned.
If this is true, what does this mean for the race? Will Cruz absorb all of his supporters? Or will they go to Trump? Or maybe a split?
So many questions this campaign season and very few answers!