Rubio told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that he and his friend, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, spoke on Sunday as they surveyed the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting.
The Florida has said that he will not run should Lopez-Cantera remain in the race, but Lopez-Cantera told him that he would exit should Rubio want to run.
"Carlos and I had a conversation on Sunday in Orlando before I left," Rubio said, confirming a report detailing the conversation that was first reported by Politico
. "Obviously, I take very seriously everything that's going on, not just in Orlando but in our country. I've enjoyed my service here a lot. So I'll go home later this week and I'll have some time with my family and then, if there's been a change in our status, I'll be sure to let everyone know."
Lopez-Cantera confirmed Politico's report in a statement he sent to supporters Wednesday afternoon.
"As friends for 20 years, this race is so much bigger than the two of us, and, as you have heard me say on the trail, this race isn't about an individual, this race is about Florida and the future of our country," Lopez-Cantera wrote. "I am still in this race and nothing has changed. However, if Marco decides to enter this race, I will not be filing the paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate."
Rubio has long maintained that he would not reconsider his decision to leave the Senate, but he has kept sliding the door slightly more ajar in recent weeks. Prominent Republicans, including several leading funders of his unsuccessful presidential campaign and of influential outside groups, have pledged to spend big to help him in what is expected to be a competitive November race.
There is no evidence that other Florida Republicans running to succeed him would similarly drop out of the GOP primary should Rubio decide to return.
Businessman Carlos Beruff, one of the Republicans running to succeed Rubio, said in a statement that Florida voters "value real world experience more than political experience. They're sick of career politicians and power-brokers in Washington who care about one thing: holding on to power."
Rubio's deadline to decide whether to file is June 24.