Florida was supposed to be a pickup opportunity for the Democrats looking to reclaim the Senate in 2016. For months, the Republican field was scattered. But when Rubio finally agreed to enter the race in June, announcing his candidacy just two days before the filing deadline, he upended the dynamics there. In subsequent months, the Democratic Party would pull much of the money it had allocated for TV ads from the state, transferring it to less expensive districts where its candidates were faring better than Patrick Murphy, whom Rubio successfully labelled a trust fund baby.
Democratic insiders are reportedly seething that the party gave Rubio a free pass in Florida, skipping a chance to at least damage the senator, a potential contender in 2020. Instead, Rubio looks even stronger than he was before, outperforming Trump in his home state, which he lost to Trump in the primary.