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Rubio drops out of presidential race

Posted at 8:26 PM, Mar 15, 2016

After losing his home state of Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio told supporters Tuesday evening that he is dropping out of the presidential race. Rubio's departure leaves three candidates in the field. 

Rubio said last week that the winner of the Florida primary would be the eventual GOP nominee. By that comment, businessman Donald Trump is well on his way to becoming the nominee as he easily bested Rubio in the state. 

"While we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side," Rubio said. "I want to begin by thanking all you. I am the beneficiary of all my great supporters."

Rubio was well behind  Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz in the delegate race. The only state Rubio has won is the Minnesota caucuses. Had he stayed in the race, it would have been mathematically unlikely for him to win in a non-contested convention. 

Hours after Rubio suspended his campaign, Cruz encouraged Rubio's supporters to join his campaign.

Marco is a friend, he is a colleague. He ran a strong optimistic campaign," Cruz said. "Marco’s story is of passion and it inspires me. I congratulate Marco and Jeanette the fabulous campaign they ran together.

"To those who supported Marco, who worked so hard, we welcome you with open arms with gratitude and hope for a vision for our great nation."

The race leaves three candidates, with Trump now holding a huge advantage in the race. Rubio had tried to stay in the race by getting into a fierce debate with Trump. It appears voters did not respond to Rubio's attacks on Trump. 

In last week's debate, Rubio tried to stick to policy. It appears voters did not respond to that strategy either. 

"From a political standpoint, it would have been to jump on all the anxieties, but I chose a different route and I am proud of that," Rubio said. "That would have been the easiest way to win, but that isn’t what is best for America."

Meanwhile on Tuesday, John Kasich was able to defend his home state of Ohio as he defeated Trump based off projections. 

"First of all, when you are in the arena and you are struggling and you leave your family and you deliver a message because you are the best qualified person to be president of the United States, and you put it all on the line and you family all on the line, I want this crowd to give a great response to Marco Rubio for what he has done," Kasich said. 

Rubio will leave the race with roughly 170 delegates. Those delegates, which is roughly 15 percent of the delegates needed to win the nomination, could be important if Trump cannot receive a majority of the pledged delegates by July's convention.