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Florida Not Prepared to Forgive the No-Show Senator

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Marco Rubio’s last-minute campaign launch made national news this week in light of the part-time Senator’s tireless insistence that, up until the Orlando shooting, he hated the job. Back home in Florida, the constituents he abandoned are taking him to task and his home state papers are calling out his abysmal record in a rush of scathing editorials.   

Orlando Sentinel Editorial: Rubio faces credibility gap in re-election bid 

Now, Rubio will need to persuade Florida voters to overlook his epic flip-flop. He'll also need them to forgive him for missing the most votes of any U.S. senator last year while he campaigned for president.

When criticized for his poor voting record by his GOP rivals for the nomination, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rubio declared, "You're not going to fix America with senators and congressmen." In February, the Tampa Bay Times reported that he had missed two-thirds of all committee hearings since taking office in 2011. So much for the Senate's high stakes. 

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Rubio running on a thin record

Rubio's decision gives Florida voters an opportunity to judge his thin record in the Senate, his tortured policy on immigration and his out-of-step positions on Cuba, guns, climate change and other major issues. And where has Rubio been for the past six years? Many communities would need to form a search party to discover that Florida has two members in the Senate. This race should be a reminder that this office cannot be taken for granted.

Miami Herald Editorial: Sen. Marco Rubio plays fast and loose with his pledge not to run 

After spending a year telling anyone who asked that he really couldn’t stand being in the U.S. Senate, given how it’s so ineffective and such a waste of time, all of a sudden Marco Rubio has undergone an epiphany. He wants back in!

But his flip-flop will seem too pat, too orchestrated, too opportunistic to anyone not firmly planted in the Rubio camp. The sudden switch puts his honesty into question. How can he persuade voters that he will be an effective champion for Florida after he’s said that the Senate is no place for anyone who wants to get things done? The famously impatient senator told one interviewer during the campaign that he couldn’t stay there because he was too “frustrated.” 

Naples Daily News Editorial: Promises, unpromises from Rubio leave splintered U.S. Senate contest 

There’s no guarantee Rubio will emerge from the Aug. 30 primary, however, and we already see signs of a campaign at risk of a down-spiral as quickly as it started. 

As the fall ballot gets formalized this week, sadly Rubio repeatedly refused to commit to serving a full Senate term if he wins. That will resonate with many Floridians because of his record of missing Senate votes while campaigning for president this year. It creates a cloud over whether he'd leave early to run for president in 2020. His lukewarm backing of Trump — on the basis he’s a better choice than Hillary Clinton — after their harsh words in the primary rings hollow.