The Marco Rubio Effect — How Rubio won Florida.

Marco Rubio campaigning for the White House in March. (CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)

The 2016 Senate race for Florida was supposed to be the one that ended Marco Rubio’s political career. It wasn’t he didn’t just win he won big.

During the Republican Primary in Florida he lost to Donald Trump in 66 of the 67 counties. After that defeat and as soon as Rubio announced he was ending his bid for the presidency the articles and the way it was reported by a lot of the main stream media made it appear like it was the end of Marco Rubio.

I volunteered on both the Rubio for President and Rubio for Senate teams. While I don’t speak for the campaign I can say it was very disappointing how Rubio performed in Florida. I do however think the loss gave the Rubio campaign the tools it needed to defeat Patrick Murphy in his run for the Senate. He didn’t just beat Murphy he beat him by a pretty good margin of 7.7 percent which was about 714,000 votes. He also became the first Republican senator in Florida to ever win reelection in a presidential election year.

As a Republican during a presidential election Marco Rubio earned a great amount of support from African Americans where he picked up around 17% and with Hispanics where he ended up with around 48% from what the average of Exit Polls showed. I think ultimately what the Presidential loss showed was he needed a better ground game and the Rubio campaign stepped it up.

Rubio did end up getting more votes than any other Senator that was running but that’s not a massive surprise considering how many people voted and how big of a state Florida is but it is still impressive for a guy who was supposed to be finished.

The campaign ended up making 9 million voter contacts which ended up being 8.7 million calls; 50,000 text messages and calls as well as 250,000 door knocks. Impressive numbers which is a big reason in my opinion that they ended up winning. I also think Rubio’s constant attacks on Eureka Garden helped him as well since he won that district around 4%. Every vote matters and Rubio’s team made sure they reached out to everyone across the entire state. It wasn’t automatically assumed he would win after he announced he was going to run for the Senate again.

I do believe another part of it is name recognition a lot of people know who Marco Rubio is now that may not have prior to the run for the President. I don’t believe a ton of people knew who Patrick Murphy was and still probably don’t. He didn’t do a great job of framing why he was a better candidate or who exactly he was. Most of Murphy’s criticism was that “Rubio continues to support Trump” considering now that we know Trump also won Florida I don’t think that argument helped him if it did at all.

“This election,” as Rubio stated to Politico, “acted as a rejection of the sort of political class in both parties and in the media, alike whose view is ‘well we know better than the people about what’s good for them.’ If anything, else, this election was a rejection of this elitism. I hope people listen to this and taken this into account.”

Rubio has stated he doesn’t want to be involved with Trump’s cabinet not that it was confirmed it was ever offered but it appears Rubio is completely content staying in Florida as a Senator. I liked him as a Senator which is why I personally supported him in both the Presidential Primary and the Senate Race as well.

Now the question will turn to if he will run again in 2020 which he has stated he hasn’t but you never know things change. Trump could end up doing a good job (more on that in another article) and he could run again. Only time will tell either way I wish Rubio nothing but the best going forward. While he didn’t win the presidency I’m glad he could keep his spot in the Senate. The next few years should be quite interesting.