Published: Sep 25, 2010 10:17 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 25, 2010 7:17 PM EDT

ESTERO, Fla. - Governor Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek still face an uphill battle against Republican Marco Rubio in the polls for the U.S. Senate race. Saturday, the Former Florida House Speaker brought his campaign to Southwest Florida.

A warm welcome for Republican Marco Rubio- Southwest Florida supporters packed an Estero restaurant to listen in on the candidate's outlook on the Senate race.

"This election is literally a referendum on the our identity as a people, and our identity as a country," Rubio said Saturday.

Rubio talked to the packed house about one of the toughest issues facing Florida and the nation: unemployment.

"Jobs and economic growth is created by everyday people, who start a business or expand an existing business. The job of government is to create an environment where people are encouraged to do that, where we make it easier for people to grow businesses, not harder," Rubio said.

Some protestors also showed up for the rally, voicing their concerns on Rubio's tough stance on U.S. border control. But supporters say Rubio has what it takes to tackle the tough issues.

"I've been laid off twice, so I know exactly where people are coming from. We need someone who will fight for us and fight hard," Rubio-supporter Mary Gagnon said at the rally.

Rubio says that's exactly what he plans to do.

"This election's a pretty straight forward one. If you like the way things are going in Washington, I'm probably not your candidate. But if you want your next US Senator to be someone who will go to Washington, DC stand up to the direction their taking our country and offer an alternative, I'm the only one running who will do that," Rubio told WINK News.

Marco Rubio will continue campaigning in Southwest Florida on Saturday. After the Estero event, his campaign planned a stop at the Fort Myers Gun Show at the Lee Civic Center.