With former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis locked in a deeply divisive presidential primary race, speculation is growing as to who will fill DeSantis's big cowboy boots, regardless if he eventually wins the presidency, or if he finishes out his second term as governor of Florida.
Several prominent Republican names are being thrown around as potential successors to Gov. DeSantis, including Reps. Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz, Cory Mills, and all three members of the current Florida Cabinet—Attorney General Ashley Moody, CFO Jimmy Patronis, and AG Commissioner Wilton Simpson.
Rep. Gaetz has recently denied he is going to run for governor, but Rep. Donalds has openly said that he is interested in the governorship.
But one name that has not been mentioned until now is that of Senator Marco Rubio.
Rubio, who ran for president and lost to President Trump in the 2016 GOP presidential primary race, said that he is not interested in running for any office outside of the presidency.
But could he change his mind if the governship presents itself?
Rubio, who will first have to address his past support for the failed 2013 Senate immigration measure, has incredible statewide name recognition. He won his 2022 Senate reelection race by 16 percentage points, a mere three percentage points less than Governor Ron DeSantis's 19 point win.
Rubio may have the advantage if he runs governor.
During President Trump's first term in office, Senator Rubio helped frame the president's entire Western Hemisphere foreign policy
Rubio's influence in the US Senate is largely as result of having a close relationship with President Trump. To this day, Rubio has not endorsed in the presidential race, but he also has not challenged President Trump's leadership or past leadership.
If Rubio runs for governor in 2026, he would still be able to exploit his senatorial bully pulpit to fundraise.
Hypothetically speaking, if Rubio runs for governor in 2026, he may very well garner the support of President Trump considering their relationship and how well they work together, not to mention how loyal Rubio has been to Trump.
Some will say that where Rubio owes Trump for helping him get to where he is now. That argument can be made.
Will Rubio entertain a run for governor?
No one knows.
Also, if he doesn't run for governor in 2026 and president Trump wins the presidency, Rubio could be in position to make another presidential run in 2028.
If Rubio stays loyal to Trump and helps promote his America first agenda for another four years, could be inline to receive a Trump endorsement,, which is arguably the most sought after support than any Republican running for office can receive.
Even if President Trump does not win the presidency he will hold a lot of sway with Republican voters and whoever he taps to succeed him to lead the Republican Party, will all-but be assured the Republican presidential nomination in 2028.
Again, all the political moons and stars must align for Rubio over the next four years.
One thing is for sure, Trump will not support DeSantis in 2028.
Meanwhile, as Florida Democrats continue to struggle to find their identity and political mojo, the only potential and viable Democratic gubernatorial candidates in 2026 that could mount a serious and aggressive challenge Republicans is State Senator Jason Pizzo, the centrist Democrat from Sunny Isles, Florida.
Sen. Pizzo has not confirmed or denied that was interested in running for governor on a couple of occasions when the issue came up on background with The Floridian.
Democrats cannot serve up another Left Wing candidate that will run on a Democratic Socialism platform. If they do run someonelike Andrew Gillum, it will surely be lights out and the Fat Lady will begin to sing.
The second Republican presidential debate is September 27 in Simi Valley, California, and once again, all eyes will be on DeSantis' performance.
DeSantis needs to have a break out moment. If he doesn't, this pathway to victory in the primary narrows considerbly.