Updated on June 22 at 11:04 a.m. ET
Marco Rubio wasn’t going to run for reelection.
The Florida senator and former Republican presidential candidate repeatedly said he had no intentions of pursuing another term in the chamber. But times have changed. After a shooting rampage at an Orlando nightclub on June 12 left 49 people dead, Rubio appeared to be reconsidering his decision. “Obviously, I take very seriously everything that’s going on—not just Orlando, but in our country,” Rubio told reporters last week. “I enjoy my service here a lot. So I’ll go home later this week, and I’ll have some time with my family, and then if there’s been a change in status, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.”
On Wednesday morning, National Review reported that Rubio would indeed announce that he was running for reelection. Hours later, Rubio did, saying in a statement, “In politics, admitting you’ve changed your mind is not something most people like to do. But here it goes. I have decided to seek reelection to the United States Senate.” He added: “The stakes for our nation could not be higher.”
It’s a significant turn of events for Rubio, who had made his intentions not to run for reelection crystal clear. A month ago, he tweeted, “I have only said like 1,000 times I will be a private citizen in January.” Instead, he intended to direct his efforts toward helping fellow conservatives with plans to run for his seat, like his friend Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Despite his persistence, life as a private citizen never really seemed to be in the cards for Rubio. As my colleague Nora Kelly noted, “For one, he is a young man, and abandoning or halting a political career would be entirely counterproductive to his future—particularly if he wants to run for president again in 2020.” And if 2020 is indeed in his sights, this campaign could come with added pressure.