For much of this cycle, this was an open-seat race as incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio had announced that he would not seek re-election so that he could devote his time to seeking the Republican presidential nomination. And, it was increasingly looking like a contest that was slipping away from Republicans. The Democratic field came together quickly as U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy had already announced his candidacy and his colleague Alan Grayson jumped into the race a few months later. Given Grayson’s penchant for controversy, Democrats gave Murphy an early endorsement. It took much longer for the Republican field to come together. Several top-tier candidates looked at the race and took a pass. Most have their sights set on the open gubernatorial contest in 2018. The party ended up with a five-way field of candidates who weren’t well known. As the race progressed, none was rising above the rest to become a clear frontrunner. In early June, it became apparent that Republicans were working to persuade Rubio, who feel short in his bid for the presidential nomination, to reconsider his

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