Post-Debate, Marco Rubio Finds More Time for Senate Votes

The Florida senator has logged a perfect attendance record since the debate.

November 3, 2015, 4:46 PM

— -- Marco Rubio’s missed Senate votes have been a subject of criticism on the campaign trail, at the last Republican debate and in the pages of a Florida newspaper.

But after a testy exchange with GOP rival Jeb Bush over the issue on stage at the CNBC debate last week, something seems to have changed: in the week after the debate, the Florida senator and presidential candidate has yet to miss a single vote in the Senate.

In fact, his campaign has already cancelled at least two events elsewhere in the country for him to be able to make it back to Washington, D.C.

Rubio was initially scheduled to discuss Iran and Israel at a private event today at the Lotos Club in New York. That event was postponed so that Rubio could go vote. And last Friday, he scrapped a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, so that he could vote against the Senate budget bill.

"I don’t like missing votes. It happens, because when you’re out campaigning for president, it happens. But what I'd hate even more than missing votes is the idea that on the first Wednesday of November 2016, I wake up to the news that Hillary Clinton is the next president,” Rubio said on ABC News' “Good Morning America” the day after the third GOP debate.

As of Oct. 30, Rubio had missed almost 34 percent of Senate votes this year -- a larger share than any other senator, according to data on

To be sure, other senators running for president have also missed Senate votes. As of Oct. 30, Lindsey Graham had missed 27% of votes this year, and Ted Cruz 24%. Rand Paul had missed 5% of votes, and Bernie Sanders just 3%.

But over the last week, Rubio has managed a perfect attendance record.

“Given the nation’s debt crisis, Marco is hitting the campaign trail later than initially planned,” read a campaign press release issued last Friday. “The Council Bluffs lunch originally scheduled for noon today at Barley's will be postponed to a later date due to Senate votes in Washington.”

“He’ll be missing votes this week,” said Alex Conant, the campaign’s communications director, when asked for comment. Rubio is scheduled to campaign in New Hampshire on Wednesday and Thursday.

“He’s returned to D.C. for key votes throughout the campaign. That won’t change,” Conant added.

Earlier this month, the Sun Sentinel, a major Florida newspaper, called on Rubio to resign his Senate seat as a result of his spotty attendance record.

“You are ripping us off, Senator,” wrote the paper’s editorial board.

But Rubio's forceful response during an exchange with Bush at last week’s debate appeared to work in his favor.

“In 2004, John Kerry ran for president missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes,” Rubio argued. “The Sun Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him.”

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