(CNN) — Sen. Marco Rubio is flatly rejecting Donald Trump’s claims the election is being “rigged” against the Republican presidential nominee.
“This election is not being rigged,” Rubio said Monday during a debate with his Democratic senatorial challenger Rep. Patrick Murphy. “There is no evidence behind any of this, so this should not continue to be said.”
“We have 67 counties in this state, each of which conduct their own elections. I promise you there is not a 67-county conspiracy to rig this election,” Rubio added.
With the comments, Rubio joined a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers and officials who have rejected Trump’s “rigged” claims, even as the nominee himself has continued to make the charge of large-scale vote fraud, without any evidence to backup his claims.
Rubio, a former 2016 presidential candidate, has been an uneven critic of Trump throughout the general election, maintaining his support for his party’s nominee by emphasizing his opposition to Democrat Hillary Clinton, while also rebuking Trump during some of his more controversial episodes, such as the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005.
The Senate debate ended up focusing as much on the candidates running for president as it did on the candidates onstage. Both Rubio and Murphy repeatedly attacked each other’s judgment, pointing to their support for their respective party’s nominee.
“I don’t understand how Sen. Rubio can look himself in the mirror and still stand by Donald Trump’s side after everything that’s come out about him,” Murphy charged.
Rubio fired back, “When (Clinton’s) been caught doing all these things, he has not once condemned her, not once pointed a finger at her, and has not once broken with her on any of her behaviors or quite frankly on any of her major policies.”
Rubio defended his support for Trump by arguing that “the problem is the other party has nominated someone who has violated federal law,” a reference to Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The FBI investigated Clinton’s email use, and while agency director James Comey characterized her actions as “extremely careless,” the agency did not recommend criminal charges for Clinton.
Murphy argued that Clinton “has already apologized for what she did,” adding that “she will hit the ground running on Day One.”
After being asked if he’d serve out a full six-year senate term — which would mean he wouldn’t run for the White House in 2020 — Rubio said, “I will serve a full six-year term in the Senate, God willing.”