Marco Rubio warned against convention fight in 2012

Story highlights

  • Rubio currently sits third in the delegate race for the GOP nomination
  • Donald Trump holds a firm lead in the race

Washington (CNN)Marco Rubio's best hope for winning the GOP primary might rest on a contested convention, but in 2012, the Florida senator warned such a process would be a "disaster" for the party.

In two separate cable interviews in spring 2012, Rubio said it was time for the party to recognize that Mitt Romney would be the nominee.
    "The primary's over, I mean, by the admission of the candidates who have admitted they can't win the primary," Rubio told CNN's Jim Acosta. "They've said the only way they can win is at a floor fight in Tampa. And I think that a floor fight in Tampa would be the worst possible thing we can do in terms of winning in November."
    Rubio currently sits third in the delegate race for the GOP nomination, and his team is preparing for a contested convention if no candidate gets the necessary number of delegates to win outright.
    Donald Trump holds a firm lead in the race, and has won most of the states that have so far. Rubio has won only a single state, Minnesota.
    An analysis of the remaining states by Politico on Thursday estimated that Rubio would need to win two-thirds of remaining delegates to outright win the nomination.
    But in 2012, the senator advised against a convention fight.
    "I think we are at a stage now where at least two of the candidates have openly admitted that the only way they're going to be able to win the nomination is to have a floor fight in Tampa in August," Rubio told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "There's no way that anyone can convince me that having a floor fight at the convention in Tampa in August is a recipe for victory in November. On the contrary, I think it's a recipe for disaster."
    The Rubio campaign said 2012 was a different scenario, repeating its criticism of the front-runner.
    "In 2012, the party wasn't considering nominating a con artist who agrees with Hillary Clinton on key issues like funding Planned Parenthood. Nominating Donald Trump would be a real disaster for the Republican Party," spokesman Alex Conant said.
    In 2012, Romney was trailed by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum in the delegate count. Santorum suspended his campaign in April and Gingrich did so in May. Long-shot candidate Ron Paul also stopped campaign travel in May.