Marco Rubio’s “winning” of Thursday’s presidential debate began on this day six years ago

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By most pundits’ assessments, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio “won” Thursday’s GOP presidential debate.

By “won,” I believe they mean he did the most to help his campaign just as his White House bid was faltering.

Rubio also Thursday outshined his mentor, former Gov. Jeb Bush. As POLITICO is framing it, Luke Skywalker beat Obi Wan-Kenobi.

In light of Marco’s “win,” it’s interesting to remember that Rubio’s meteoric rise to the presidential stage really took off six years ago this weekend when Mel Martinez resigned from the U.S. Senate.

On August 7, 2009, CNN and the Orlando Sentinel first reported that Martínez would be resigning from his Senate seat rather than stepping down after completing his term.

And with that he changed the course of Florida political history.

Later that August, then-Governor Charlie Crist announced that he would appoint George LeMieux as the successor to Martínez for the remaining year and a half of the Senate term.

Rubio had already announced a run for U.S. Senate in May 2009. Initially trailing by double-digits against Crist, Rubio eventually surpassed him in polling for the Republican nomination.

Rubio won the Republican nomination after Crist opted instead to run with no party affiliation. In a three-way split against Crist and Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek, Rubio won the general election in November 2010 with 49 percent of the vote.

Although it was clear early-on in Rubio’s political career that he was destined for great things, if it wasn’t for the events of six years ago, it’s not likely he would have been on the stage Thursday night.

Material from Wikipedia was used in this post.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.