Senator Marco Rubio plans to announce his campaign for president on April 13 in Miami, two Republican sources confirmed to Bloomberg Politics on Saturday.
That could make Rubio the third Republican senator to enter his party's presidential nomination contest, which is shaping up to be one of the most wide-open races of recent election cycles. Ted Cruz of Texas last week became the first formally declared candidate, and Rand Paul of Kentucky is expected to announce his plans April 7 in Louisville.
Rubio, 43, is also expected to compete with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is in the midst of a fundraising blitz that could collect $100 million in the first three months of the year. Bush said this month that he might not formally announce his own campaign until the summer.
The leading contender for the venue for Rubio's hometown announcement is the iconic Freedom Tower downtown Miami, according to one of the sources, who requested anonymity to speak about plans that haven't been formally announced. The Tampa Bay Times first reported on Friday that Rubio may use the tower as the backdrop for his announcement on that date.
By making his announcement on April 13, Rubio will have allowed some of the news surrounding Paul to dwindle a bit before he makes his own entry into the race.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also expected to announce her candidacy in April, according to media reports, but no specific dates have been scheduled.
Rubio has been considering several venues for his announcement, according to The Miami Herald, but the Freedom Tower, with its historic background, would be a meaningful and symbolic location for the 43-year-old son of Cuban immigrants.
The Mediterranean-style building, which was completed in 1925 and housed the now-closed Miami News before it moved in 1957, was used by the U.S. government to process Cuban refugees after dictator Fidel Castro seized the country in 1959.
Since that time the landmark building has changed hands, and was donated to Miami Dade college in 2005.
It now houses the Cuban American Museum and the MDC Museum of Art and Design.
The building in January also officially became a headquarters for a "Media Hub of the Americas" through an agreement between the State Department and the college, giving State a location to host foreign dignitaries while working with Spanish-language and Portuguese media outlets.
In Bush, a son and brother of former presidents, Rubio faces a towering figure in Florida politics. The men live a few miles apart in Miami. Rubio has said his friendship with Bush wouldn't dissuade him from jumping into the 2016 race. "If I don’t run, it won’t be because Jeb is running," he told the New York Times in December.
The former Florida House speaker rose to national prominence in 2010 after his underdog primary bid against sitting Governor Charlie Crist, then a Republican, was lifted by a wave of tea party activism.
Rubio would become one of the youngest candidates in the field. He is regarded as a top GOP communicator, capable of captivating large audiences and interacting with small crowds in the type of town-hall settings that are important in the first two states to hold presidential nominating contests, Iowa and New Hampshire.
His stock dropped in 2013 after he co-authored a Senate bill proposing to overhaul immigration policy. The measure passed in the chamber with bipartisan support, but was anathema to the Republican Party's conservative base and was never considered in the GOP-controlled House.
He has spent much of the last two years attempting to repair his relationship with the base. It appears not to have paid off in the polls, at least so far: He won support from 4 percent of Iowa Republican caucus-goers in a Quinnipiac University poll in February. He garnered just 3 percent of New Hampshire Republican primary voters in a Suffolk University poll this week.
But it may have helped convince voters to withhold final judgment. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in March shows that 56 percent of Republicans say they could see themselves supporting Rubio, more than any other potential candidate.
Information from Bloomberg was used in this report.
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