Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that Republican Party officials had "zero" input in his decision to seek re-election and that he would not help presumptive nominee Donald Trump campaign in Florida because "I've got to run my own race."
"It's not that I'm looking to undermine him, but I think the differences between us on key issues are so significant that I don't plan to campaign with him," the former 2016 presidential candidate told Manu Raju on CNN. "I've got to run my own race.
"I have my own identity. I have my own positions on issues — and I'm not going to be out there undermining him or anything, because I don't want Hillary to win."
Rubio, 45, who quit the presidential race in April, said earlier Wednesday that he would seek re-election to his Senate seat, ending days of speculation as the Sunshine State's filing deadline neared on Friday.
Rep. David Jolly quit the Senate race last week after talk resurfaced that Rubio might run again. Jolly is also facing a tough re-election fight in a redrawn, heavily Democratic district.
Rubio dismissed questions that top GOP officials pressured him to seek re-election because his seat is serious jeopardy of flipping to Democrats. Even Trump has encouraged the senator to run.
"My decision had nothing to do with what anyone in Washington said to me," he told CNN. "My decision was made in between breaks of the NBA finals and pressure-cleaning my driveway and made between me and my wife and input from the children, who are old enough to have opinions and not votes."
He admitted that he "changed his mind" on leaving Capitol Hill, adding that it was important to have Congress "check" the president, whoever is elected.
"If it's Hillary Clinton, it's clear. I disagree with her on virtually everything.
"If it's Donald Trump who's elected president, I'll encourage him to pursue good policies — and if he offers policies we don't agree with, we'll have to oppose those, and I know I'll do that.
"My Democratic opponents are going to be a blank check for Hillary Clinton."
Rubio said he did not expect to speak at the Republican National Convention next month in Cleveland, "now that I have a campaign to run.
"I'll have a lot less free time."
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