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Marco Rubio

Now that Donald Trump has won Florida's Republican presidential primary and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has suspended his run, members of the GOP are dealing with the fallout at the state and local levels.

Florida’s primary on Tuesday could finally decide who will get both the Republican and Democratic presidential nomination.  The Sunshine State's pivotal role in the primary system was no accident, and it may be surprising to find out that the man behind Florida’s winner-take-all primary is Marco Rubio – whose own presidential aspirations may be decided on Tuesday night.

After all the debates and primaries and chatter from the political class, it all comes down to this: Tuesday's Florida primary may determine the next Republican candidate for president.

If Florida Senator Marco Rubio doesn't come in first - and collect 99 delegates in the winner-take-all contest, his quest is probably over.

Florida may be Sen. Marco Rubio's home turf, but it's also friendly terrain for his rival Donald Trump. On Friday morning, Trump began his day with a press conference at his luxurious Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. Less than four days earlier, he had given a press conference at another one of his Florida properties — the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio made several campaigns stops in Florida on Saturday, with a big focus on the Tampa Bay region.

Rubio appeared in Hudson, Tampa, Lakeland and Largo, where about 250 people turned out on Saturday morning for the rally in the parking lot of Beckwith Electric.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Florida's winner-take-all Republican presidential primary was supposed to help former Gov. Jeb Bush or Sen. Marco Rubio.

That was the thinking when the GOP-dominated Legislature changed the state's primary date to the third Tuesday in March — the earliest date it could hold an election that will award all 99 Republican delegates to one candidate.

AP Photo/Gary McCullough

Coming off what may be his worst night of the primary season, Marco Rubio's make-or-break moment has arrived.

And the Florida senator, a home-state underdog with a week to prove he belongs in the 2016 presidential race, insists Florida will be his salvation.

"It has to happen here, and it has to happen now," he told a swelling Sarasota crowd Tuesday evening.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Just when Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio needs them the most, big-dollar contributors from the party's wealthy mainstream are having second thoughts about his future in the 2016 race.

Fresh misgivings about Rubio's path forward are the latest in a series of obstacles that threatens the Florida senator's future in this roller-coaster Republican campaign, with a must-win March 15 primary looming in his home state.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people at the Tampa Convention Center Monday night, vowing not only to stay in the race for president, but saying he's the only Republican candidate who can beat front-runner Donald Trump.

AP Photo

Marco Rubio finds his Oval Office ambitions squeezed by Donald Trump's outsider ambush and the Republican Party's resulting identity crisis.

The Florida senator has struggled to reconnect with the kind of voters who sent him to Capitol Hill six years ago as a tea party favorite, instead watching them fuel Trump and his closest challenger to winning the GOP presidential nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Sen. Marco Rubio poses with supporters after the event
Steve Newborn/WUSF / WUSF News

As Republican Sen. Marco Rubio pursues the presidency, the Florida Democratic primary race to replace him pits a moderate embraced by party leaders against a fiery liberal who's offering a "one-finger salute" to Washington's Democratic establishment, and a large field of Republican contenders is trying to tap into an anti-Washington sentiment.

In their tenth debate with Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finally got real.

The two first-term senators, who have been chasing Trump in the polls and in February vote tallies, came at him on every issue their opposition research teams could muster.

It didn't take long for the results of the Nevada Republican caucuses to become apparent: Donald Trump had nearly double the support of his closest rival, Marco Rubio, in the state, where GOP officials are reporting voter turnout that far exceeds recent contests.

As NPR's Jessica Taylor writes, it's Trump's "third victory in two weeks and a huge surge of momentum heading into Super Tuesday."

Donald Trump posted a decisive victory Saturday night in South Carolina, a conservative state that on its face should have been inhospitable to the New York billionaire, but was anything but when voters went to the polls.

And Hillary Clinton pulled off a badly needed win in Nevada, besting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with an older, more diverse electorate in the state's caucuses.

As we dive into the entrance and exit polling data, here's four takeaways from the results.

1. Evangelical voters have faith in Donald Trump

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Marco Rubio are locked in a high-stakes political chess match in South Carolina, strategically moving money and other campaign resources around in a bid to pull ahead in the Republican primary race — or at least keep their campaigns afloat.

After six months of wrangling on various TV stages, the seven Republican presidential candidates who met in Manchester, N.H., Saturday night finally produced A Moment.

The sharp exchange between Marco Rubio and Chris Christie near the beginning of the ABC News event cast a sudden shadow on Rubio's bright and rising star.

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What's Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's stance on cap and trade - and has it changed over the years? Rubio says no, but some of his opponents aren't so sure. To do some fact-checking on that claim - and whether a lack of dentistry can prove fatal - WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida.

Sen. Marco Rubio poses with supporters after the event
Steve Newborn/WUSF / WUSF News

Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio made a rare appearance in the Tampa Bay area today, speaking at a boat manufacturer in Manatee County. 

He came to Sarasota for a long-planned fundraiser, and added on a last-minute campaign stop with about 300 people at boat manufacturer Marine Concepts.

There, he spoke for more than a half hour on lowering taxes to make America competitive globally, keeping the prison open at Guantanamo Bay, and promising a more robust campaign in the fight against terrorists.

NBC News

Does the fact that people getting married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator mean that states have the power to regulate marriage? And did Sen. Marco Rubio really compare Muslims to Nazis (not really...) To get the answers to those questions, we ask Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida.
 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has always opposed same-sex marriage, and when he was asked if he'd work to overturn the recent Supreme Court ruling, he said he doesn't think the Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate marriage.

John Raoux/Associated Press

As Marco Rubio campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, he's pledging to bring generational change to Washington. Yet Rubio's policy toward Cuba hinges on reinstating a half-century-old diplomatic freeze that failed to unseat the communist government on the island where his parents were born.

The Florida senator sees no contradiction between his pledge to usher in new ideas and his call to restore an old, punitive relationship with Cuba.

Florida Poll: Trump Getting Stronger, Bush Weaker

Nov 19, 2015

Nationally, GOP leaders have been predicting Trump’s demise for months. It hasn’t happened. “Despite conjecture that Donald Trump has plateaued, his support in Florida remains very strong and could be growing,” FAU’s associate political science professor Kevin Wagner said in a news release. Aside from Trump, U.S. Sen. Rubio has consistently started to eclipse Bush, his former mentor, at home.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Orlando was the center of the Republican political universe over the weekend, as all the major candidates for president spoke at the GOP's Sunshine Summit. WUSF's Steve Newborn was there, and caught up with University of South Florida political science professor Susan MacManus.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Orlando was the center of the Republican political universe over the weekend, as every major presidential hopeful spoke at the GOP's Sunshine Summit to several thousand of the state's Republican voters.

The New York Times is profiling a new wave of attacks from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on his one-time protege, Sen. Marco Rubio.

AP Photo

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who has been attacked by GOP rivals and others for using an American Express card issued by the Republican Party of Florida for some personal spending as a state lawmaker, released two more years of charge card statements Saturday to help quell the furor.

The New Hampshire primary is just over three months away, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is stepping up his presence in the state after a relatively low-key approach there so far in his presidential bid.

Rubio has been rising in polls and starting to draw the attention of rivals and undecided voters. He's using the buzz his campaign has been attracting since the last debate to reintroduce himself to voters.

He highlights his belief that at 44 years of age, he sees the world differently than do older candidates.

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Conservative Solutions Project, a nonprofit group funded by secret donors that has so far spent $8 million in ads promoting Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, has drawn another complaint from Washington watchdog groups.

Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center on Thursday asked the Justice Department to investigate the group, alleging that it was set up primarily for the benefit of the Florida senator.

www.redstate.com

Until recently, Sen. Marco Rubio has kept a fairly low profile in the GOP presidential race. Now he's starting to show momentum, and is eclipsing his political mentor Jeb Bush.

Rubio Gives up on Senate: ‘He Hates it’

Oct 26, 2015

This year, as Rubio runs for president, he has cast the Senate — the very place that cemented him as a national politician — as a place he’s given up on, after less than one term. It’s too slow. Too rule-bound. So Rubio, 44, has decided not to run for his seat again. It’s the White House or bust. “That’s why I’m missing votes. Because I am leaving the Senate. I am not running for reelection,” Rubio said in the last Republican debate, after Donald Trump had mocked him for his unusual number of absences during Senate votes.

A Washington watchdog group filed a complaint Tuesday with the IRS about a secret-donor nonprofit organization that is spending millions of dollars on commercials to boost Marco Rubio's 2016 prospects.

Conservative Solutions Project has aired pro-Rubio TV ads in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, in addition to sending mail to voters in those early presidential primary states.

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