Marco Rubio Suspends 2016 Presidential Campaign

The U.S. senator ended his candidacy where it began: in Florida.

ByABC News
March 15, 2016, 8:23 PM

— -- Marco Rubio announced he is suspending his 2016 presidential campaign on Tuesday night after a projected loss in the Florida primary.

Despite pre-primary polls that showed him trailing Donald Trump in the state, which he represents in the U.S. Senate, Rubio predicted he would “shock the country” and win Florida’s 99 delegates.

That did not happen. ABC News projected Trump will win Florida's GOP primary, based on analysis of the vote.

"After tonight, it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year, we will not be on the winning side," Rubio told supporters in Miami.

In the final days of his campaign, Rubio emerged as one of Trump’s staunchest critics, attacking the GOP frontrunner’s rhetoric and record while mocking his tan and the size of his hands.

“The Republican Party is not going to allow itself to be hijacked by fake conservatives and people who go around dividing us against each other,” he said at a campaign stop in the Sunshine State on Monday.

And he echoed some of those points in his speech tonight.

"The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party, they're going to leave us a fractured nation," he said. "They're going to leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other because they have different political opinions."

In recent days, Rubio acknowledged regrets about his own change in tone on the campaign trail, but argued the brash New York billionaire needed a “taste of his own medicine.”

Rubio had a mixed record during the primary season, winning only three primaries outright: Minnesota, Puerto Rico and, most recently, the District of Columbia.

The 44-year-old Cuban American politician first announced his candidacy for president April 13, 2015 and throughout the campaign sought to cast himself as the future of the Republican Party.

"And so while it is not god's plan that I be president in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today my campaign is suspended," Rubio said tonight, "the fact that I've even come this far is evidence of how special America truly is."