Eeenteresting, as the potential for another Rubio/Trump showdown in 2022 rather than 2024 had percolated for a couple of months in Florida. With Donald Trump apparently setting up another presidential campaign and Marco Rubio expected to try again as well, a Senate primary against Ivanka Trump could have pre-empted the 2024 fight altogether. However, Politico reports that Ivanka’s not interested after all:
Ivanka Trump told Sen. Marco Rubio last month that she would not mount a primary challenge to his reelection bid in 2022, a spokesperson for the Florida Republican said on Thursday.
Ivanka Trump — who served as a top White House adviser to her father — was rumored to have been considering a Senate run in the Sunshine State, where she and her family have bought a home since former President Donald Trump left office. Her decision to pass up a bid puts Rubio in a strong position heading into his reelection campaign next year, as well as a possible 2024 presidential run.
“Ivanka offered her support for Marco’s reelection and they had a great talk,” a Rubio spokesperson said, adding that the pair is looking to host a joint event highlighting their shared support for expanding the child tax credit.
That makes Rubio more or less a lock for 2022, right? If Ivanka’s passing on a populist challenge to Rubio, what other populist would even come close to her standing among the Trump base to go after him? It’s a cinch that Democrats don’t have anyone who can slug in Rubio’s class in Florida. If Rubio gets an easy ride to the nomination — and Ivanka’s pass all but guarantees that — then he’ll bury anyone who signs up against him in the general election.
That makes this especially interesting in light of Trump’s snub of Haley today. If Trump did that to keep Haley from effectively challenging him in 2024, why leave Rubio alone in 2022? Even a losing primary challenge there could still do some damage to Rubio, or at least drain some of his funds. And as popular as Rubio is, Team Trump has to see Ivanka as the Trump scion most likely to succeed in electoral politics.
Instead, Ivanka’s demurral all but gives Rubio the Trump imprimatur, at least for the next two years or so. That might be fine for Trump in the short term, but what about when Rubio runs against him the year after that in the GOP’s presidential primary? Trump’s hardcore base won’t care too much about the reversal, but it still leaves Rubio quite an opportunity to make his appeal to the full populist wing. If Rubio can build credibility with those voters, the need to nominate Trump again drops significantly. At least, that’s what Rubio will hope, but now he doesn’t even have to worry about it until 2023.