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Rubio drops out of presidential race after Florida loss

Wednesday, Mar 16, 2016,9:49 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Miami | Marco Rubio, the poster boy of the Republican establishment, quit the White House race today after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of front- runner and bitter rival Donald Trump in his home state of Florida. Trump scored a massive win Florida, which he termed as his second home, by gaining the support of 45.5 per cent of the votes counted, while Rubio was a distant second with 27.1 percent of the votes.

Florida Senator Rubio, who had so far won primaries in Minnesota, Puerto Rico and Washington DC and had 163 delegates, was banking heavily on a win in his home state. But Trump’s victory margin of more than 400,000 put curtains down on his presidential ambition. The 44-year-old was endorsed by maximum number of party leaders, governors, senators and Congressmen.

Indian-American leaders former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley were among the prominent Republican leaders backing Rubio. In his speech in Miami, Rubio acknowledged that the country is in the middle of a political storm tsunami. America’s in the middle of a real political storm, Rubio said. This is the right way forward for our party, for our country. But after tonight, it’s clear that while we are on the right side this year, we will not be on the winning side, Rubio said.

While this may not have been the year for a hopeful or optimistic message about our future, I still remain hopeful and optimistic about America, said the Florida Senator. Noting that it was not God’s plan that I be the President in 2016, Rubio urged his countrymen not to give up on the sense of optimism he tried to push. I ask the American people do not give into the fear, do not give into the frustration, he said.

Notably, Rubio is not running for re-election of his Senate seat. His term ends in January 2016. Before dropping out of the race, Rubio did not indicate who he would be supporting for in the Republican presidential race but definitely not Trump. While he was announcing to drop out of the race, his supporters were saying No, No, No and some other asking him to Go to the Convention.

Rubio said this was not his time, but would continue to be fighting for the rights of the people of his country. We live in a republic and our voters make these decisions, Rubio said. His speech was a thinly veiled rebuke of Trump’s campaign tactics, as he warned that it would have been easier for him to exploit the anger and anxiety driving the race. He warned that the politics of division were going to leave America a fractured nation. In his impressive speech, Rubio also accused the political establishment for failing to pay heed to real frustrations from conservative voters.

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