In a year when Donald Trump is now the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination, It is likely wise not to rule anything out. But it is also worth noting that in addition to almost certainly ending Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, Chris Christie probably also ended Rubio’s political career.
Rubio was elected to the Senate in the Tea Party flood-tide of 2010. So this is the last year of his Senate term. And he has said consistently that he will not run for reelection even if he drops out of the presidential race.
Now, desperation and sads have a way of changing people’s minds. But remember that Rubio has spent a lot of time making statements to the effect that he’s bored with the Senate, hates the Senate, thinks the Senate is a waste of his time and so forth. He’s also missed a huge number of votes while campaigning for president. He missed more votes in 2015 than any other senator.
People will try to spin anything. But Rubio has made clear he doesn’t want to serve in the Senate anymore. It is at best his second choice for employment. Those voluminous quotes about being done with the Senate would make it hard to shift gears and, if he did, provide infinite grist for Republicans and Democrats senate aspirants to attack him with.
So where next?
Not the House, not the Senate and clearly not the presidency. He’s already been at the pinnacle. It’s hard to go back to anything else. The obvious path is to take a few years off and come back to run for Governor as a more seasoned, more mature politician. If that goes well, he’s back in business as a national politician, maybe even one better positioned to make a fifty-something run for president.
But you usually don’t get multiple chances at this – especially if you get marked as a loser. The most likely scenario is that Marco Rubio’s career in elective politics is over.