SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Marco Rubio brushed off his disappointing night Saturday after another round of losses and insisted his fortunes would shift on March 15, when states award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis.
“These states have a certain profile that other candidates do better in,” he said of Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana, all of which voted Saturday and went for his opponents, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
But he framed his losses in all three states — after a three-stop barnstorm of Kansas on Friday — as part of his overall strategy to amass enough delegates to make a play for the nomination in the long run.
“What you need to understand is that all of these states are awarding delegates by proportion. So tonight, we will have more delegates than we did last night.”
He also said the states that have yet to vote will be more favorable for him going forward. “This map only gets better for us as we move forward in some of the other states,” he said. “We’re soon gonna be in the winner-take-all process…that’s where we feel very confident as we move forward.”
Rubio also insisted he had expected the setbacks he’s faced in some of the recent primary states all along.
“We knew this would be the roughest period in the campaign give the makeup of the electoral map,” he said.
The Florida senator is hoping to add a few more delegates to his count when Puerto Rico votes on Sunday, and made a last-minute campaign stop there Saturday night, delivering a brief stump speech to around 500 people entirely in Spanish, that pushed for Puerto Rican statehood.
But his losing streak — Rubio has won only one state out of the handful that have already voted, and both Cruz and Trump continued to widen their delegate leads on Rubio on Saturday night — ups the ante for him to win his home state of Florida, which votes on March 15.
It awards all of its 99 delegates to whomever wins the state, and Rubio’s fortunes increasingly hinge on his success there. Rubio acknowledged this to the press before his Puerto Rico rally on Saturday night.
“There will be more delegates awarded in Florida then, basically, every state that voted tonight combined cause it’s a winner take all state,” he said.
And he again insisted, as he’s done for weeks, that he’ll win there. “We’re gonna win Florida and you’ll find out on March 15th how confident we are,” he said.