MIAMI, June 22 (UPI) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Wednesday he will run for re-election, saying he changed his mind about retiring from Congress.
The junior senator from Florida previously said he would return to his private life should his bid to become president prove unsuccessful. He dropped out of the presidential race in March.
Rubio told Fox News on Wednesday, "I changed my mind."
The widely expected announcement came in the hours after a poll was released indicating Rubio could defeat a Democratic rival to maintain his seat.
His change of heart comes as the Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll found that none of the Republican candidates already in the Florida race is leading either Democratic contender, Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, both members of Congress. It also found Rubio could defeat either Democratic candidate; the poll found Rubio leads Murphy by 47 percent to 40 percent, and leads Grayson by 48 percent to 40 percent.
Last week, former Florida Rep. David Jolly announced he would not seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat, adding he believed Rubio would jump into the race. Jolly's decision came as a longtime friend of Rubio's, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, urged Rubio to run for re-election, citing the welfare of the country after the nightclub shootings in Orlando, Fla.
Rubio's decision makes the Florida senatorial race even more competitive and gives the Republican Party a better chance to maintain its slim majority in the Senate. One-third of the Senate's 100 seats will be contested, and a shift of five seats, from Republican to Democrat, would change the majority in the Senate.