Rubio, flanked by his family, speaks at a primary night rally.
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In an election year when anyone associated with the Republican establishment is seen as tainted, Rubio ended his campaign after New York real estate mogul Donald Trump won the coveted primary, or nominating contest, in Rubio's home state of Florida Tuesday.So Rubio made a strategic gamble.Throughout the campaign, Rubio has battled perceptions that he does not work hard enough.Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said Rubio faced more than $50 million in attacks ads.Cruz won Iowa's caucuses on Feb. 1 with Trump second.Rubio heard similar complaints in New Hampshire.As the campaign intensified, that Rubio appeared less and less frequently, replaced by a candidate who seemed able only to deliver canned lines and talking points.Rubio has since said he regretted the negative turn.A campaign source said it was Rubio who made the ultimate decision to switch gears and attack Trump personally, motivated in part by a desire to win more media coverage. Months of wall-to-wall news coverage of Trump decimated Rubio's strategy of using free-media avenues.In a Republican primary race where Trump has thrilled many conservatives by vowing to deport immigrants and build a wall on the Mexican border, Rubio's involvement in the legislation and sudden abandonment of it haunted his 2016 campaign.
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