MIAMI (AP) — In a blunt editorial, a top south Florida newspaper called on Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio to resign from the Senate, saying he was not doing his job in Washington.
Citing his missed votes and his complaints about dysfunction in the Senate, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, based in Fort Lauderdale, said Rubio should step down and "let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day's work."
"Marco Rubio should resign, not rip us off," says the editorial's headline.
In the presidential race, GOP rivals have also struck at Rubio for being absent from the Senate. He has missed the most votes of any senator this year.
Last month, Rubio missed a key vote on defunding Planned Parenthood because he was campaigning at a Florida retirement community. After calling out the Obama administration for not doing more to free Americans held in Iran, he skipped voting on a Senate resolution demanding the Americans' release. Instead he attended a fundraiser.
Rubio says in his defense that he misses votes in part because he believes stalemate in Congress won't be resolved unless Republicans win the White House. His aides say he has not missed a vote in which he would have decided a bill's fate. His Senate salary is $174,000.
"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," Rubio said Sunday on CNN. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again."
The newspaper wasn't buying Rubio's argument.
"Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job," the editorial said. "We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.
"If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it."
The Sun-Sentinel is among Florida's largest newspapers and endorsed Rubio in his successful Senate campaign in 2010 when he defeated two other leading opponents, former Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran as an independent, and then Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.
Rubio jumped all in to the presidential race, deciding he would not seek Senate re-election next year.