06/19/2013 10:03 am ET

Allen West Refuses To Rule Out Primary Challenge Against Marco Rubio In 2016

Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) was asked Wednesday whether he would challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in 2016 for his Senate seat -- and he did not answer with a definitive "no."

Though West admitted it would be difficult, the exchange demonstrated that Rubio is not immune from grumbling on his right flank for being part of the "gang of eight" that crafted an immigration bill in the Senate.

"That's a pretty heavy lift, because you're talking about running against a sitting senator, and then, of course, that creates that schism that the other side would love to see happen," West told conservative talk show host Larry O'Connor.

The host interrupted and said Rubio created the same "schism" by challenging one-time GOP star and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in the Republican primary. Crist withdrew and ran as an unaffiliated candidate in the general election; Rubio rode the 2010 tea party wave into office. West lost his own bid for a second term in 2012.

"If I see people that are not taking our country down the right path, if I see people that are not standing up for the right type of principles, and putting their own party politics before what is best for the United States of America," West responded.

He then gave a warning about the immigration bill. "And I have a lot of concerns about this immigration bill," he said. "Do we need to do something about immigration? Absolutely. This whole comprehensive thing -- I think the bill now is up to 1,075 pages -- Once again, the American people don't trust that.

"We'll see what happens down the pike," he said. "God will set my feet on the right path."

Rubio's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



The World According To Allen West