Earlier this year, Donald Trump humiliated Marco Rubio so thoroughly, the Florida senator started humiliating himself. In a desperate bid to salvage his presidential campaign, “Little Marco” tried to beat Trump at his own game, casting aspersions about the size of the mogul’s genitalia. But all this did was allow Trump to tout the size of his penis at a debate, and a bevy of pundits to draft eulogies for Rubio’s career.
But reports of Rubio’s political death were greatly exaggerated. After insisting that he had no intention of running for reelection, Rubio reversed himself in June, much to the chagrin of the Democratic Party. By then, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had secured $10 million in ad reservations in the Sunshine State. The size of that investment reflected the party’s belief that the GOP would be nominating a nonincumbent with low name recognition.
With Rubio’s hat back in the ring, Democrats started to wonder if their resources wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere. And on Tuesday, the DSCC cancelled its remaining ad reservations in Florida, Politico reports. The Senate Majority PAC also pulled $6 million in October ads, after previously spending $3 million in support of Democratic Senate challenger Patrick Murphy.
The timing of the move is a bit odd: As the fact that the GOP seems to have nominated a sexual predator for president has come back to bite down-ballot Republicans, Murphy shot up to within two points of Rubio in a new Quinnipiac poll.
Are Democrats really gonna cut bait when Trump is so close to finally, truly finishing off Rubio? Especially, considering that the Florida senator is a potential 2020 threat?
The party’s reasoning, per Politico, is that the Democrats could knock off Roy Blunt of Missouri and Richard Burr of North Carolina for the same price it would take to have a shot at Rubio. Idea being that Rubio is a stronger candidate, and those other states are smaller, and less expensive to compete in.
At present, Burr maintains a skinny 1.8 percent lead over Democrat Deborah Ross in the Tarheel State, while Blunt is 2.3 points ahead of Democrat Jason Kander in Missouri, according to polling averages on RealClearPolitics. Rubio, by contrast, enjoys an average advantage of 4.2 percent.
Murphy, for his part, has $4 million in cash on hand, only slightly behind Rubio’s $4.6 million. But the GOP’s Senate Leadership Fund is expected to expand Rubio’s cash advantage down the home stretch.
Murphy’s best hope may be that a Clinton landslide depresses Republican turnout, thereby erasing whatever polling advantage Rubio might have going into Election Day. Which isn’t the most unreasonable hope.