With Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's Monday announcement that he is joining the race for president, a battle could be brewing in the Sunshine State between Rubio and his fellow Republican Jeb Bush.
Bush, who served as Florida governor from 1999-2007, is expected to join the Republican race for the White House in the near future. Already in the race are Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
For Rubio and Bush, who have been friends for years, a head-to-head political battle could play out in terms of fundraising dollars.
According to estimates, Bush could raise more than $100 million
in the first quarter of 2015 for his presidential bid. But Rubio's team, according to Politico,
is convinced it will be able to take in enough cash to fund a legitimate campaign.
Politico reports that Rubio's camp hopes to have $50 million in campaign funds by the start of next year to fuel the opening of four presidential primaries.
Rubio, who took office in 2011, has a fundraising history that is bigger than people may think. A report last month said Rubio
has raised nearly $50 million through various political fundraising committees since 2010.
Billionaire car dealership owner and philanthropist Norman Braman lives in Florida and has been a staunch supporter of Rubio since he entered political life in the early 2000s. A recent report said
he may fork over $10 million to Rubio's presidential campaign.
"I don't think he's frozen out of Florida," lobbyist and Bush fundraiser Brian Ballard told Politico. "He certainly isn't in as commanding of a position as Jeb is, but he's got a cadre of supporters. He's got a lot of folks in Miami who are for him and he has pockets around the state of folks who helped him run for Senate, or have been involved when he ran the Florida House."
Rubio's experience in foreign policy could entice pro-Israel donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and New York finance billionaire Paul Singer, according to the Politico report.
Rubio spoke with his top donors on Monday,
one day after Democrat Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, and told them he feels "uniquely qualified" to represent the GOP in the 2016 election.
Sources told Politico Rubio's campaign finance team has somewhere between 30 and 40 bundlers to fuel his 2016 machine.
"I think we are slightly ahead of where we thought we would be in terms of recruiting people who have the capability to raise the money for the campaign," an unnamed veteran Republican fundraiser who supports Rubio told Politico. "You can't measure Rubio's progress and signing up fundraising types against Jeb because Jeb has extraordinary capability and is dominating the fundraising in every aspect — money raised, events, the number of bundlers that are signed up for Jeb."
Polling data through March
showed Rubio was several percentage points behind Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Cruz, Paul, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
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