Marco Rubio, RAWA Sponsor, Does About Face on Seeking Reelection to US Senate

June 23rd, 2016 | by Jason Reynolds

Florida Senator and RAWA supporter Marco Rubio has changed his mind about seeking another bid to the US Senate. After previously adamantly insisting his Senate career was over and done, it turns out that’s not the case, after all.

Marco Rubio back for Senate reelection

Anti-online poker Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) says he’ll make another run at the US Senate. (Image: Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP)

Rubio, who has been a primary sponsor of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), recently failed in his bid to become the Republican presidential candidate. After losing in his own state’s primary to archrival Donald Trump, he threw in the towel for the GOP nomination, claiming he was also done with his Senate seat once his term ends.

Throughout his primary campaign, Rubio had insisted that he would leave the Senate at the end of his term, and even repeated this line as recently as last month. But it’s a politician’s prerogative to change his mind, and so it goes.

Wants to Keep Senate in Check

Discussing the issue this week with CNN, Rubio explained that as he isn’t focused on a place in the White House at the moment, he wants to focus his time and energy on helping make a difference in the Senate instead.

“I honestly believe that no matter who is elected president, we’re going to need a Senate full of people willing to act as a check and balance on the excesses of the next president,” Rubio said in the interview.

In a message to his supporters, the Florida statesman confirmed his intention to run for reelection to the Senate and warned them not to be swayed by detractors who may try to use his 180-turnaround against him.

While those in favor of Rubio may be able to look past his recent change of heart, there are some who will be pointing to his roll call record as reason not to give him a place in the Senate yet again.

According to GovTrack.US, Rubio missed 197 of 1,482 votes between 2011 and 2015. That level of abstinence puts his overall attendance record at 86.7 percent and his missed vote percentage at 13.3 percent (the Senate median is 1.7 percent).

Rubio has blamed the missed votes over the years on everything from running for president to tending to his sick mother to spending more time with his kids.

Turnaround May Not Matter

With a Senate record that’s below average, there’s a chance Rubio won’t garner enough votes to retain his seat, but should things go his way, then his anti-online gambling bill RAWA could show up once more.

Although the anti-online gambling and poker bill virtually died a death in 2015, Rubio hasn’t given any indication that he’s changed his stance on the policies behind it. In fact, with billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson’s “I’ll spend whatever it takes” credo, there’s a chance Rubio will be pushing the agenda once again, if he’s reelected.

But fortunately for American poker players, while this dynamic would have been troubling two years ago, passage of RAWA is now less of a threat than it once was. Even a RAWA 2.0 measure that South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham tried to slip into an appropriations bill this year failed to gain traction.

And for the man who couldn’t even get enough votes in his own state primary to stay afloat as a Republican presidential contender, online poker is most likely far, far from front of mind these days, anyway.

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