Politics & Government

Rubio, former Florida House Speaker, announces Senate run

Three months after starting to raise money for a U.S. Senate race, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio on Tuesday confirmed the obvious: He's a candidate.

Rubio's announcement made good on his promise not to be cowed by a potential rivalry with Gov. Charlie Crist, the most popular politician in Florida. Crist is expected to announce his political plans after Friday's final vote by the Legislature on the state budget.

"I don't think the odds are that long," Rubio said of his prospects against a potential Crist Senate run. "Races of this magnitude are decided by who presents a clearer picture of the future, and I intend to do that."

At a time when the Republican Party is struggling to reinvent itself nationwide, Rubio is seeking to portray himself as a more conservative alternative to the governor. Crist has drawn scorn from some Republicans for supporting President Barack Obama's spending plan, though polls show most voters support it.

"The more Republicans become less distinguishable from Democrats, the less people will vote for Republicans," Rubio said.

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