Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio Florida isn’t ready to officially endorse Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but he did say Cruz is the “only true conservative left in the race.”
Rubio, who dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination after losing his home state to front-runner Donald Trump, spoke to Minnesota supporters about his feelings about the race and the best path forward for the GOP, reports the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
The man who was once dubbed the “Savior of the Republican Party” by Time magazine said he had little chance of securing the party’s nod after losing Florida. But even if he kept going and managed to secure the nomination at a brokered convention to fend off Trump, many in the base would likely not support his candidacy because of how the nomination was won.
“Winning a general election with a nominee that a significant percentage of the base thinks stole it, even though you did it through the rules of the RNC, would be pretty much fatal for the party,” Rubio said, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
Rubio said the media deserved blame for the derailment of his campaign.
“This election was entirely driven by national media coverage, in many ways,” Rubio said. “When the media narrative goes negative on you, and all the news is bad, it kind of knocks us off.”
As for who other Republicans should back, Rubio didn’t say. But he did say that Cruz was “the only true conservative left in the race,” leaving out Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who is still in the race and polls favorably against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
In a sign of what looks like Republicans pushing aside their differences to back a single candidate to fend off Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who publicly badmouthed Cruz during the primary before dropping out and famously said choosing between the Texas senator and Trump is “like getting shot or poisoned,” is now endorsing him.
"I'm going to help Ted in every way I can," Graham told CNN. When asked about Kasich, Graham said, "This is an outsider year and John [Kasich] is seen as an insider."
A Cruz-Rubio ticket might have some political operatives salivating for its potential appeal to Hispanic voters, but Rubio said he’s not interested in being a potential vice president pick.
According to Politico, Rubio said he’s not interested in being anyone’s vice presidential candidate, won't run for Florida governor in 2018 and has no regrets about giving up his Senate seat to run for president