Marco Rubio leads Democratic candidates in would-be Florida Senate match-ups

June 22, 2016 GMT

Sen. Marco Rubio leads two Democratic contenders in hypothetical match-ups in the U.S. Senate race in Florida, as the senator faces a deadline this week on whether to change his mind and run for re-election.

Mr. Rubio led Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy by 7 points, 47 percent to 40 percent, and he led Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson by 8 points, 48 percent to 40 percent, in the Quinnipiac University polling released Wednesday.

“With Republican national leaders worried about keeping control of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Marco Rubio might ride to their rescue if he decides to reverse field and seek re-election,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Mr. Murphy, meanwhile, led businessman Carlos Beruff by 12 points; he led Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera by 9 points; he led GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis by 10 points; and he led former CIA officer Todd Wilcox by 10 points.

Mr. Grayson also held leads against all the other GOP contenders, though by narrower margins.

“None of the other Republican candidates for Sen. Rubio’s seat has a lead over either of the two Democrats, Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson,” Mr. Brown said. “But if Rubio’s last-minute decision is to seek re-election, he could be in the driver’s seat.”

GOP Rep. David Jolly announced last week he was dropping out of the Senate race to seek re-election.

Mr. Rubio decided not to simultaneously seek re-election to his seat when he ran for president, but is facing pressure to reconsider as the GOP looks to keep Senate control in Republican hands. The filing deadline is June 24.

In Pennsylvania, another crucial battleground state, GOP Sen. Pat Toomey holds a 9-point lead over Democrat Katie McGinty, 49 percent to 40 percent.

And in Ohio, GOP Sen. Rob Portman and Democrat Ted Strickland were tied at 42 percent apiece.

“In general, this poll of the three major swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, is good news for the GOP,” Mr. Brown said. “Sen. Rob Portman is in a dead heat with former Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio. But that is an improvement for Portman, who earlier in the campaign was down as much as 9 points. And in Pennsylvania, GOP Sen. Pat Toomey has a 9-point lead. It is far too early to say he’s a sure thing, but he is in good shape.”