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He's not up for re-election in 2018, but here's why Marco Rubio is campaigning hard

Alex Daugherty, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

"I guess I just witnessed it a little bit earlier," Crist, now a Democratic congressman, said of the Republican Party's recent infighting. "I think that what the party's going through, it's difficult, and you're seeing more of a drift to the right versus the establishment-type thing, only I think it seems a little more harsh now."

Some within the party are still rankled by Rubio's decision to work with Democrats on a comprehensive immigration bill in 2013, and Breitbart frequently refers to Rubio as a "pro-amnesty" Republican in its articles, though Rubio did recently write an op-ed for the site about increasing the federal child tax credit.

Rubio also has experience working with the more establishment-aligned wings of the party. McConnell begged him to run for re-election in 2016 amid a weak GOP field after Rubio lost the Republican presidential primary.

"We're doing everything we can to encourage him to run," McConnell said last year.

Rubio will have some time to build a potential presidential resume in the Senate, should he choose to run again. He won't be able to run with Trump in the White House until 2024 at the earliest, and will face re-election for a third term in 2022.

But some of his anti-Trump supporters are already yearning for a West Miamian in the White House, even with Trump up for re-election in 2020.

"I'll be glad to write in Marco Rubio's name this time," Ros-Lehtinen said.

And even among conservative Republicans, Rubio remains an important part of the party.

"I think he's a leader," Meadows said. "To suggest otherwise would be to ignore the obvious."

(c)2017 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

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