WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who dropped out of the presidential race in March, said on Wednesday he would seek re-election to the Senate, reversing a pledge not to run.
“I changed my mind,” Rubio told Fox News Channel.
He said he was frustrated with gridlock in Washington and said the Senate provided a venue to take action. “It’s a place you can still move on some major issues,” Rubio said.
The decision reverses a campaign pledge he made a year ago that he would retire from the Senate if his presidential bid was unsuccessful.
Rubio ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination after he lost the primary in his home state of Florida to Donald Trump, who is now the party’s presumptive nominee.
Republican U.S. Representative David Jolly, who had been seeking the Senate seat, ended his campaign on Friday, opening the door for Rubio to run.
The Democratic challenger, U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy, criticized Rubio on Wednesday for changing his plans.
“Marco Rubio abandoned his constituents, and now he’s treating them like a consolation prize,” Murphy said in a statement.
Rubio announced his re-election bid two days before a June 24 deadline to tell state officials that he planned to run for the Senate seat.
(Reporting by Kouichi Shirayanagi; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Jonathan Oatis)