Washington, Mar 16: US senator Marco Rubio has dropped out of the presidential race after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Republican front runner Donald Trump in his home state of Florida.
Trump scored a massive win Florida, which he termed as his second home, by gaining the support of 45.5 per cent of the votes counted, while Rubio was a distant second with 27.1 percent of the votes.
Rubio, who had so far won primaries in Minnesota, Puerto Rico and Washington DC and had 163 delegates, was banking heavily on a win in Florida. But Trump's victory margin of more than 400,000 put curtains down on his presidential ambition.
The 44-year-old was endorsed by maximum number of party leaders, governors, senators and Congressmen. Indian American leaders Bobby Jindal, the former Governor or Louisiana and Nikki Kaley the Governor of South Carolina were among prominent GOP leaders to endorse Rubio.
In his speech in Miami in Florida, Rubio acknowledged that the country is in the middle of a political storm- Tsunami. "America's in the middle of a real political storm," he said.
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"This is the right way forward for our party, for our country. But after tonight, it's clear that while we are on the right side this year, we will not be on the winning side," Rubio said.
"While this may not have been the year for a hopeful or optimistic message about our future, I still remain hopeful and optimistic about America," said the Florida Senator. Noting that it was "not God's plan that I be the President in 2016" Rubio urged his countrymen not to give up on the sense of optimism he tried to push.
"I ask the American people do not give into the fear, do not give into the frustration," he said. Notably, Rubio is not running for re-election of his Senate seat. His term ends in January 2016.
Before dropping out of the race, Rubio did not indicate who he would be supporting for in the Republican presidential race but definitely not Trump.