Tags: Trump Administration | GOP2016 | Marco Rubio | Florida | Mitchell | Rick Scott

Michigan Spells Doom for Rubio

Image: Michigan Spells Doom for Rubio
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Wednesday, 09 Mar 2016 08:32 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Despite Marco Rubio’s insistence Tuesday night that he would fight on, one veteran pollster believes that the Florida senator’s dismal fourth-place finish in the Michigan primary means the beginning of the end.

His failure to win any delegates from the state could seal his fate.

“How do you put lipstick on a pig?” Steve Mitchell, whose “Mitchell Polls” have been a familiar feature in Michigan politics for decades, replied when I asked if he felt Rubio should continue his bid for the Republican nomination.

Mitchell’s primary-eve survey for Fox 2 News in Detroit found Trump leading among likely voters statewide with 42 percent, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich 20 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 19 percent, and Rubio 9 percent.

With near-final returns in, Trump won Michigan with roughly 38 percent of the primary vote, with Cruz and Kasich in a virtual tie for second place with about 23 percent.

Rubio was fourth with 9.3 percent. (Under Michigan’s primary rules, a candidate must get a minimum of 15 percent to be eligible for any delegates to the national convention).

“The question has now become should Rubio get out of the race right now or go on through the primary in Florida next Tuesday,” said Mitchell, “If he loses to Trump on his home turf, that could be embarrassing for Rubio and cause real trouble for him in terms of his political future.”

Mitchell was referring to the widespread assumption among Florida Republicans that Rubio, who relinquished his Senate seat to run for president this year, would seek nomination for governor in 2018 (when incumbent GOP Gov. Rick Scott must by law step down after two terms in the statehouse).

A big loss for Rubio in the presidential primary March 15 would almost certainly damage his chances of a rebound in the Sunshine State’s primary for governor in 2018, according to Mitchell. Three Republicans who hold statewide office have signaled they will run for governor in two years and none show any attention of deferring to Rubio.

With a campaign in Michigan co-chaired by Reps. John Moolenaar and Bill Huizenga, Rubio appeared to be a formidable primary contender following his strong showing in the Iowa caucuses in January. “You should see the crowds Marco is drawing here,” Moolenaar told me on Monday, “The young are especially excited about him. People love him in Michigan.”

Perhaps, but this was not evident from the votes cast in Michigan Tuesday.

Privately, one Rubio enthusiasts who spoke to me complained that the national headquarters did a “terrible” job of providing signs and other campaign material to Michigan or managing their man’s appearances in the state.

“So, Michigan and not Florida may be the beginning of the end for Marco Rubio in this presidential year,” said Mitchell.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.



 

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Despite Marco Rubio’s insistence Tuesday night that he would fight on, one veteran pollster believes the Florida senator’s dismal fourth-place finish in the Michigan primary means the beginning of the end.
Florida, Mitchell, Rick Scott
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2016-32-09
Wednesday, 09 Mar 2016 08:32 AM
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