According to a report from subscription-only Punchbowl News, time and political realities beyond his control look to be conspiring against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and his drive to become president of the United States.
Rubio --often described as a "rising star" within the Republican Party -- has run several campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination and come away empty-handed and is expected to defend his seat in the 2022 midterms as a stepping-stone with an eye on the 2024 presidential election.
However, as Punchbowl reports, the Republican Party after Donald Trump has radically changed and Rubio faces a possible battle for his Senate seat before -- if he wins -- facing a Republican presidential field where he is not the only candidate who represents Florida.
Noting that Rubio turns 50 at the end of May, the report states his future is clouded by questions.
"The big question facing Rubio revolves around his race next year, both before and afterward. Who will he face in his 2022 Senate race? And then, perhaps more importantly, what does Rubio do if he wins? Does he make another bid for the White House, or does he bide his time in the Senate, where he's already more than halfway up the seniority list?" Punchbowl is reporting. "Rubio's problem, of course, is that there's already several Florida Republicans who may want to be president in 2024. Leading the list is former President Donald Trump, who keeps talking like he could run again. And if Trump doesn't run, there's Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and fellow GOP Sen. Rick Scott who could be candidates instead."
Aside from Trump, who may be in no position to run again due to his legal issues and who hammered Rubio in the 2020 Florida primary, the senator may have an uphill battle against DeSantis who has moved to the top of the list of 2024 presidential contenders if he is not Trump's running mate.
But before that, first he has to hold his seat, with Punchbowl reporting he may face a stiff challenge from popular Reps. Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy, both Democrats.
According to Rubio, "Someone is going to run. I'm not in some hard red state where you're not going to get challenged by a serious opponent. But in the end, I don't think there's been a member of Congress over the last four to six years who's been more effective than we have."
In an interview, Rubio admitted that his future is up in the air.
"First of all, if we've learned nothing over the last two years, it's that the future is unpredictable, it takes all kinds of twists and turns," he conceded. "I certainly learned that myself living life. You can sort of be prepared for the future, but you can't necessarily plan for it because you just don't know what's going to happen in my life or anybody else's life."
You can read more here (subscription required).