The day before his expected U.S. Senate victory, Republican Marco Rubio tried to play down his status as a national star leading a GOP wave of support into Tuesday’s election.
"This morning, I had to take out the trash because the truck was coming," he said at a Hialeah Republican campaign office Monday afternoon. "So nothing has changed at home."
Rubio said he was unaware that his photo graces the cover of Time magazine –- "Was that a jinx? Not like Sports Illustrated, is it?" -– and scoffed at the concept of political celebrities. "I don’t think there are stars in politics," he said. "American politics is not like that. American politics is about regular people."
But the scene only cemented Rubio’s standing as his party’s golden boy, with a crush of television crews and reporters mobbing him as he was greeted with applause by a couple dozen volunteers in an office festooned with a banner reading, "Hialeah is Marco Country."
Rubio drank Cuban coffee prepared by an 83-year-old supporter, posed for photos and said he would likely spend the rest of the day fielding radio and TV interviews. "We’re excited about what we think is going to happen," he said.
"What I’m proudest of in this campaign is that our message today is indistinguishable from the one we launched 21 months ago when I was 35 points down in the polls," he added, saying he was grateful for the early underdog status that forced his campaign to focus on his ideas and message. "I’m glad that’s how we started, and I’m really glad that’s how we’re going to finish it."