Jewish Democrats slammed former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio for reversing course Wednesday and announcing that he will run for another term in Washington.
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who announced in March that she would not be running for the Senate seat, slammed Rubio’s decision to run for re-election in a series of tweets.
“Florida deserves better than a senator who rarely shows up for work and believes he can’t get anything done for our state,” Schultz tweeted Wednesday about Rubio. “Six years of being ‘represented’ by a no-show senator was six years too many.”
Rubio has missed the most votes in the Senate of any of his colleagues since he took office in 2011.
In the Democratic primary, Jewish Rep. Alan Grayson trails Rep. Patrick Murphy by nine points in the most recent poll average by RealClearPolitics. While both Murphy and Grayson are polling above their mostly unknown Republican opponents, a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Rubio beating both Democrats.
Grayson’s campaign manager Mike Ceraso told the Forward that Rubio’s decision to run doesn’t change things for his candidate.
“He welcomes the chance to beat basically two Do Nothing Republicans in Patrick Murphy and No Show Marco this fall,” Ceraso said in an email.
Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a Jewish Republican who was running for Rubio’s Senate seat, announced that he would be dropping out of the race shortly after Rubio declared. Lopez-Cantera reportedly encouraged Rubio to reconsider his decision to leave politics when the two spoke in the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting, according to Politico.
Though the Republican Jewish Coalition does not normally endorse congressional candidates, it does support incumbents who have been instrumental in supporting its core principle issues, said Mark McNulty, director of communications.
“We are thrilled he has chosen to run for re-election to the Senate and we look forward to helping him get re-elected,” he said.
Rubio leads in some polls and GOP bigwigs consider his decision to run as a key part of their plan to retain control of the U.S. Senate.
Rubio said he decided to run for re-election over Father’s Day weekend, citing fears of the Republican party losing control of the Senate as well as his concerns over potential Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidencies.
“The prospect of a Trump presidency is also worrisome to me,” he said. “If he is elected, we will need senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him. I’ve proven a willingness to do both.”
Rubio’s decision to run comes after weeks of claims that he had no interest in running for office. In May, Rubio tweeted that he was frustrated by questions asking whether he would seek re-election, saying, “I have only said like 10,000 times I will be a private citizen in January.”
Floridians will head to the polls to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries on August 30.