The best hope of the Republican establishment just a week ago, Marco Rubio suddenly faces a path to his party’s presidential nomination that could require a brokered national convention.
That’s according to Rubio’s campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, who told The Associated Press that this week’s disappointing performance in New Hampshire will extend the Republican nomination fight for another three months, if not longer. It’s a worst-case scenario for Rubio and many Republican officials alike who hoped to avoid a prolonged and painful nomination fight in 2016.
“We very easily could be looking at May – or the convention,” Sullivan said as Rubio’s charter jet traveled from New Hampshire to South Carolina this week. “I would be surprised if it’s not May or the convention.”
The public embrace of a possible brokered convention marks a sharp shift in rhetoric from Rubio’s top adviser that could be designed to raise alarm bells among Republican officials. Yet days after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire and looking up at Donald Trump in next-up South Carolina, Rubio’s presidential ambitions are truly facing growing odds.
“After this week I feel 55,” the 44-year-old senator joked as he courted voters at an Okatie elderly community Thursday.
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