Another GOP challenger clears way for Marco Rubio

Story highlights

  • Rubio thanked Wilcox, releasing a statement acknowledging his support
  • The move leaves Rubio with only one primary challenger

Washington (CNN)Sen. Marco Rubio on Friday got one step closer to the GOP nomination to retain his Senate seat when another Republican dropped out of the primary fight.

Businessman Todd Wilcox announced his decision after the Florida freshman senator decided on Wednesday to run for re-election.
"With all that is at stake, I have decided to end my campaign for US Senate and support Marco Rubio in his bid to keep this seat in the GOP," Wilcox tweeted.
    Rubio thanked Wilcox, releasing a statement acknowledging his support.
    "Todd Wilcox has dedicated his life to serving this country and his community," Rubio said. "As a former Special Forces commander and CIA veteran, Todd brought a unique skill set to this race. I'm grateful for his support, and I look forward to working with him to protect the Senate and conservative principles."
    The move leaves Rubio with only one primary challenger, businessmen Carlos Beruff, who issued a statement shortly after Wilcox's announcement.
    "Now, the choice is clear. The voters of Florida can re-elect Washington's candidate, who has consistently failed to do the job they hired him to do and won't commit to serving a full six-year term. Or they can make a change," Beruff said.
    Reps. Ron DeSantis and David Jolly decided to run for re-election to their seats in Congress rather than challenge Rubio, and the Florida senator's friend, Lt. Gov Carlos Lopez-Cantera, also got out of the way.
    After the August primary, the Republican nominee will likely face off against Rep. Patrick Murphy, a favorite among establishment Democrats for the seat. Rep. Alan Grayson is also running for the Democratic nomination.