When Marco Rubio declared his candidacy for president in April, he was one of three Republican “establishment favorites” along with former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio governor John Kasich. Now, only Kasich remains.
Rubio’s loss hardly comes as a surprise—polling ahead of the Florida primary had Trump taking nearly twice as many votes in the senator’s home state, giving him a 97% likelihood for victory, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Only minutes after polls closed, TV networks quickly declared Trump the winner in Florida by a double-digit margin. CBS reported that Rubio was the first sitting senator in US history to fail to win his home state in a presidential primary.
In a long speech in which he bemoaned the state of the conservative movement, Rubio announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign.
“America is in the middle of a political storm, a real tsunami. And we should have seen this coming,” Rubio said, frequently choking back tears. Still, he took the opportunity to cast himself as the anti-Trump: “American needs a conservative movement, but one that’s based on principles and ideas, not on fear.”
“It is not God’s plan that I be president in 2016, or maybe ever,” he said.
Rubio was also pessimistic about the prospects for a Republican victory in the general election: “While we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side.”