MANCHESTER, N.H. — Marco Rubio may have to “dispel with” his hope of seizing the Republican presidential nomination.
The Florida senator enjoyed a burst of momentum after somehow claiming a third-place victory in the Iowa caucuses, and happily watched as GOP officials and donors began to rally around his presidential bid. Rubio’s campaign believed that a top-tier finish in the New Hampshire primary would put him in a position to be the establishment favorite who would appeal to moderates and take on insurgent candidates like real estate mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
But Rubio’s disappointing fifth-place finish in the Granite State on Tuesday evening, behind Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Cruz, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, put that dream on hold.
It’s unclear whether a single factor led to Rubio’s disappointing loss in New Hampshire, but it may have been his unusually shaky performance in Saturday’s Republican presidential debate, when he walked into a brick wall named Chris Christie — an error Rubio acknowledged on Tuesday night.
“Our disappointment tonight is not on you, it’s on me,” Rubio told supporters in New Hampshire, drawing a sharp contrast with his confident posture after Iowa.
“I did not do well on Saturday night,” he added. “But listen to me: That will never happen again.” Read more here: The bot bombs