Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a Republican who may well have cleared the field of any primary challenger had he run for U.S. Senate, has met with every leading Republican running and says he admires all of them. That said, he really wants Marco Rubio to "pull aside some quiet time and contemplate" running for another term.
"He is the best person to serve in the United States Senate, and he would be the best candidate to prevail," said Atwater.
Rubio has said he intends to return to the private sector, but he is under heavy pressure to run for reelection from Republicans worried about losing the seat.
The CFO has known Rubio for 16 years, served with him in the Florida House, and said Rubio was "absolutely genuine" when he announced he would not seek another term so he could give all he had to the presidential campaign. In that same genuine spirit, Atwater said, Rubio should consider the many conservative leaders urging him to run. The talk that Rubio did not like serving in the senate doesn't ring true, Atwater said.
"Number one, I believe he is the man who would be the most effective senator.. And two I deeply wish us to maintain this seat, and I believe there is no better candidate to ensure that than Marco Rubio," Atwater told Buzz Friday morning. "No one would see it as anything other than Marco being genuine from the start. He would be answering our call."
--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times