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Ron DeSantis Drops Out Of Senate Race; Rubio Opts In

U.S. House of Representatives

Congressman Ron DeSantis is trading in one race for another.

DeSantis is abandoning his bid for the Senate and instead is seeking re-election for Congressional District 6.

DeSantis said in a statement Sen. Marco Rubio's "announcement changes the contours of the U.S. Senate race in Florida." Rumblings about Rubio's about-face on a pledge he'd retire after his unsuccessful run for president were confirmed Wednesday. 

"In light of the Rubio development," DeSantis wrote, "I can best advance the cause by running for re-election to the House in the 6th Congressional District, where I can continue protecting taxpayers, promoting economic growth, helping our veterans and supporting our military."

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera made a similar statement and implored Republicans Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox to rally behind the incumbent who had the best chance of winning. But Beruff says he'll do no such thing, saying the Senate seat is "this isn't Rubio's seat, it's Florida's." Wilcox did not immediately return calls for comment.

Congressman David Jolly is also opting to seek re-election and ending his bid for the Senate. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.