The loneliness of live phone call voter contact, via phone banks, cannot be underestimated. Keeping the spirits of volunteers up can be a heavy lift, and at theÂ Marco Rubio headquarters in Jacksonville, on Saturday, about 20 motivated callers went through the script.
Not every response was a positive one, as a 20-something named Stephanie said.
â€œIâ€™ve gotten a lot of machines,â€ Stephanie said. â€œEither theyâ€™ve voted and they donâ€™t want to disclose, or they donâ€™t want to talk,â€ she said of some of the live people who answered.
Other phone bankers had to indulge theories of those who answered, like a young man who had to deviate from call script to discuss a brokered convention with a potential supporter.
Still, as those who have done phone banks know voter contact, though tedious as a blocking drill in football, is how you close the deal.
The Rubio campaign, at this writing, has no plans to deploy the senator into Northeast Florida for one last sortie over the Jacksonville media market. However, there was an announced special guest,Â Jeanette Rubio, the senatorâ€™s wife, who came to the Southside storefront that houses the HQ.
Mrs. Rubio announced that she had a special message for the volunteers working. And soon enough, her husband was on the phone.
â€œThanks for the help, I really appreciate it,â€ Marco Rubio, in Pasco at the moment, said.
Rubio told the volunteers that â€œweâ€™re gonna win this thing,â€ buoyed by â€œgreat momentum.â€
The local Rubio office preferred Mrs. Rubio not answer this reporterâ€™s questions. However, the senatorâ€™s brother,Â Mario Rubio, was able to talk.
The question of the day: his thoughts on his younger brotherâ€™s condemnation of the increasingly volatile situations at Trump rallies.
Mario Rubio, a pragmatist, noted that the â€œTrump Organization is not taking accountabilityâ€ for what happens at these rallies, most recently in Chicago, a debacle the senator has condemned on multiple occasions since Friday night.
â€œAngerâ€™s not going to solve the problemsâ€ that Trump talks about in his stump speeches, Mario Rubio said.
The open question, of course, is whether voters agree. Even the biggest supporters of Senator Rubio say theÂ moderate â€œGang of 8â€³Â moment on immigration is a deal breaker for many Northeast Florida voters.
Despite a strong endorsement from MayorÂ Lenny Curry, whose public rhetoric and private inclination is light years away from the Last Days of the Roman Empire vibe of the Trump movement, deep skepticismÂ remainsÂ among a swath of Northeast Florida voters regarding Rubioâ€™s ability to â€œbuck the establishmentâ€ as he did when he ran againstÂ Charlie Crist years ago.
Tuesday will be the final answer to the question of how deep that skepticism ran.