Commentary Magazine


Rubio Won’t Chair NRSC, Eyes on 2016?

As I mentioned earlier, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is facing some changes after last night’s defeats. RealClearPolitics reports that Senator Marco Rubio — who was considered a top prospect to replace outgoing NRSC chair John Cornyn — has turned down the spot:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been courted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to take over the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2014 midterm season, but the freshman lawmaker declined the entreaty, sources told RCP.

It might seem early to think about the next campaign cycle, but Senate leadership elections will take place in short order. And given the GOP’s losses in Senate races Tuesday night, the party is looking to make some changes.

The sources, who are familiar with Rubio’s decision, said the junior senator had mulled the leadership role for some time. As he often points out, however, being the father of four young children sometimes keeps him away from the campaign trail.

It’s easy to see why McConnell would want someone like Rubio revamping the NRSC and shielding it from some of the grassroots criticism, but there wasn’t much in it for Rubio if he’s looking at 2016. Not only would it have put him right in the middle of some of the goriest establishment-Tea Party fights for the next two years, but most of the big donors he’d meet through NRSC duty would already want to meet with him anyway. A lot to lose and little to gain.

The slot seems better suited for someone with longer-term Senate ambitions. Some other names being tossed around are Senators Roy Blunt, John Thune, Jerry Moran and Rob Portman. But Rubio’s rejection seems like a sign he sees the Senate as a path to bigger things rather than a place to build a career.