Marco Rubio wins second Senate term in Florida, bouncing back from failed White House bid

Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2016, 8:49 PM

Marco Rubio campaigning for the White House in March.


Florida still likes Marco Rubio after all.

The failed GOP presidential candidate won a second term in the Senate Tuesday — bouncing back from a disastrous White House that saw him losing his own state and vowing to leave politics.

The Associated Press called Rubio the winner with 51% of the vote. He defeated Congressman Patrick Murphy, a former Republican who resigned from the party and ran as a Democrat.

Rubio, 45, entered the presidential race as a rising GOP star. But he failed to keep that fire going on the national stage, and Donald Trump in particular turned him into a target.

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Trump dubbed the junior senator "Little Marco" and blasted Rubio for racking up the Senate's highest absentee record after declaring his presidential bid.

Trump handily won the Florida primary — while Rubio scored only one county in the state.

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After his crushing defeat, Rubio told reporters he was quitting politics altogether after his term ended.

"I'm going to finish out my term in the Senate over the next 10 months," he said in March, "and then I'll be a private citizen in January."

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He even hammered that point in a bizarre nighttime Twitter rant in May, writing, "I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January...As for future in politics, well it's nearly impossible for someone not in office to ever become a successful candidate for President.Right?"

Just a month later, Rubio changed his mind and said he would indeed seek reelection, saying in a statement, "The stakes for our nation could not be higher."

Despite his devastating primary loss, polls for the Senate race consistently showed Rubio as the likely winner.