“This is probably the only state where a Republican should fear a primary challenge from a Trumpist candidate, and Marco’s first in line,” says one GOP consultant.
At a weekend rally organized by Republicans outside Miami’s Freedom Tower, a crowd unified by the false belief that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump gathered and waved Trump 2020 banners, American flags — and, in one case, a sign asking “Where’s Marco?”
Marco Rubio, Florida’s senior Republican U.S. senator, was not expected to attend the event, one of many protests planned around the country by Trump’s most dogged supporters. Though Rubio has not criticized Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of an election that made Democratic nominee Joe Biden the president-elect, he has stopped short of backing the president’s allegations of widespread voter fraud and at times acknowledged the lack of evidence to support the claims.
“Where is Marco, indeed?” Roger Stone, a former Trump adviser who spoke at the Sunday rally in Miami, wrote later on the social media site Parler. “A growing number of Florida Republicans are urging me to challenge Marco Rubio in the Republican primary.”
Stone, a self-described dirty trickster pardoned by Trump this year for lying to Congress, may have just been stirring the pot. He went on to say that, were he to run, he’d rather wait two years and challenge Florida’s junior Republican U.S. senator, Rick Scott, and also told the Daily Caller that he’s “friendly” with Rubio and “not likely to run for anything.”
But Stone’s flirtation with challenging Rubio’s bid for a third term underscores a new reality for Florida Republicans: In 2022, the greatest threat to most GOP incumbents may lie not on the left, but on the right — and in the perception that they’re not loyal enough to Trump.
“This is probably the only state where a Republican should fear a primary challenge from a Trumpist candidate, and Marco’s first in line,” said Jacob Perry, a former GOP campaign consultant in Florida who now runs a digital newsletter.
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