Despite picking up a series of high-profile endorsements in Kansas on Friday, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio finished a disappointing third in the state's caucus on Saturday, and according to The Washington Post
, Rubio backers bemoaned the results, as well as the campaign that produced them.
"I felt I had a dog in the fight, and it hurt me personally when I thought we were going to win," said Republican Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, another state where Rubio came in behind candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
"The thing is, when Rubio was there, the enthusiasm was so great, better than the others. He had a great reception. If everything had been equal in terms of appearances and organization, he would have won Oklahoma."
Although Rubio backers stand firmly on their belief that Trump would be a political disaster if he won the nomination, many do not believe the Florida senator or his campaign is doing enough to win against the real estate mogul.
While Rubio has lost 18 out of 20 nominating contests so far, he is banking on his ability to win his home state's 99 delegates.
However, according the Post, "even if he prevails in Florida's winner-take-all contest, it will be difficult for him to secure enough delegates before the party convention in July, meaning he would have to try to win the nomination in an unpredictable floor fight."
"They have no infrastructure," said Scott Reed, the chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"His campaign hasn't been able to keep up with his candidacy . . . They don't have the operation in the states to help him get over the top. He should be a finalist going all the way to California, and he's not."
According to recent polls, Rubio still trails Trump in Florida, however, with just $5.1 million in his campaign account at the beginning of February, "Rubio is relying on super PACs to air millions of dollars in attack ads against the front-runner," reports the Post.
In terms of the money spent for TV ads on Super Saturday, CNN
reports that Rubio has spent nearly twice as much in TV advertising per vote as all other candidates combined.
On Super Saturday, Rubio spent $1.46 per vote, far more than any other candidate — Republican or Democrat. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, spent 48 cents per vote, which was the second highest amount.
Among Rubio backers, there is disagreement regarding his decision to aggressively attack Trump.
While some believe the attacks are damaging Rubio's image, Rubio's senior adviser told the Post that "we would be more than happy to check the insults at the door and focus on policy and focus on each candidate's vision for the future of the country, but if the price we have to pay to get the media to cover the substance of our campaign is to mix it up a little bit, then we're not opposed to doing that."
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., added, "I think it's important to stay on topic and stay on the policy contrasts and differences . . . I just don't think the substantive criticisms of Trump have really come out as much as they should," Scott continued.
"I understand the role the president plays in the world. You can't be a showman."
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