Rubio Showing Growing D.C. Donor Base

Image: Rubio Showing Growing D.C. Donor Base

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 04:35 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio hasn't brought in the most money of any potential 2016 presidential candidate during the first three months of this year, but he's been building a donor network that could prove vital should he run for the White House.

The senator's Rubio Victory America and Reclaim America PACs raised $1.1 million during the first quarter of this year, reports The Hill. And while others, like Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul who brought in $1.6 million, raised more, Rubio is already enjoying the support of Washington's business interests.

Donations from lobbying firms like Capitol Counsel and BGR Government Affairs helped fill Rubio's coffers, and one longtime GOP fundraiser said that while he's been in Washington, the senator has built a business community network.

He's gathered donations from companies such as Microsoft, American Airlines, and Verizon during the first three months of the year, as well as money from a PAC linked to the Koch Brothers.

Three veteran Republican fundraisers, Wayne Berman of the Blackstone Group, Bill Paxon of Akin Gump and Dirk Van Dongen of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors are among those working to bring in contributions, and along with lobbyists, their efforts are bringing in large donations.

“It’s as much about building up infrastructure as it is about how much gold you're putting in the bank,” a veteran GOP fundraiser said. “They have done a very sophisticated job of building that infrastructure up, and then using it on behalf of other Republican candidates.”

Rubio still has some hurdles to get over before he makes a decision on presidential campaign, including how to recover support lost by his stance on immigration reform, which grassroots conservatives oppose.

Jeff Birnbaum of BGR Public Affairs warned not to read much into Rubio's first quarter haul.

"In the money primary, it doesn’t really matter where it comes from, except that any candidate would like to show that they get money from a wide range of sources,” said Birnbaum. “Getting money from D.C. is an indication that there are serious political and policy people who are supporting that candidate. But it’s just one part of the picture."

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