Among many in the Republican Party, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has moved up the list of viable candidates in a crowded field otherwise being dominated by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, The Wall Street Journal reported.
At a recent gathering of donors organized by the Koch brothers, he was well-received and gave a solid performance. It was noted with admiration that he has engaged Jim Merrill, a former top aide to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, to join his team and also has the support of George Seay, a high-end Texas donor.
And Rubio appears
to be serious about a run with a recent visit to Iowa for a book signing and planned visits to other early primary states, such as New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, evidently undeterred that he would be competing against his political mentor, Bush.
The Journal outlined the "case for Marco Rubio," saying it starts with the fact that he's a bright and articulate politician with broadly conservative credentials, while his Spanish-speaking skills lend him an advantage in attracting Hispanic voters.
At the same time, his success will depend on political timing, the Journal said, and some conditions that are out of his control.
For one, Republicans will need to be disillusioned enough with the political establishment that they are will to take a chance on someone new and younger who hasn't "waited his turn."
The Journal noted that the Democrats did as much when picking Barack Obama in 2008 as their nominee. Usually, the Republican Party chooses candidates who have paid their dues to the party by biding their time and having previous runs, such as Romney, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, all of whom had been serious prior candidates before getting the ultimate nod.
There are signs, however, that the GOP may be ready to take on a less-tested candidate, as evidence by the lack of enthusiasm when Romney considered a third bid, the Journal said.
Rubio also has an asset of having a strong track record on foreign policy, an advantage over both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Walker, for example.
But at just 43 years old and with just four years' experience in the Senate, some will see him as too close a parallel to Obama in 2008 and would argue against repeating the experience, the Journal said.
Rubio also might have detractors for his role in negotiating the comprehensive immigration reform package in the Senate that would have given a pathway to citizenship for many illegal immigrants.
"These aren't small obstacles. The question for Mr. Rubio is whether they are trumped by the advantage of good timing," the Journal concluded.
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