Sen. Marco Rubio announced on Monday that he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — and there are compelling reasons why the Florida legislator would be a strong candidate in a White House race.
1. His fundraising prospects are good.
He has hired a leading GOP fundraiser — Anna Rogers, finance director for American Crossroads, Karl Rove's political advocacy group. She will lead the effort to raise at least $50 million for a campaign. It is also significant that Rubio is one of only four potential GOP candidates invited to a gathering hosted by major Republican donors Charles and David Koch. Romney and Jeb Bush were not invited.
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2. He's the son of Cuban immigrants.
Rubio would likely garner a larger share of the Latino vote in the general election than recent GOP candidates. Poor showings among Hispanic voters have hurt Republicans in past elections.
3. Rubio would expand the voter base among all immigrants.
Rubio has bucked a GOP trend and backed a plan providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, although he has more recently backed away from some of the provisions.
4. He hails from Florida.
With California and New York solidly blue and Texas solidly red, Florida stands as the most significant swing state and the key to winning a presidential election. Look no further than the 2000 race when a handful of votes in the Sunshine State gave George W. Bush the win over Al Gore.
5. He is getting an early start in what could be a primary battle.
While the GOP presidential field is expected to be crowded, so far only two other candidates have officially announced that they are running: Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul.
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6. Rubio's Tea Party credentials are solid.
The Washington Post has referred to him as the "crown prince" of the Tea Party movement, and he has earned perfect 100 ratings from the American Conservative Union.
7. His new book put him in the spotlight.
Rubio has been on tour to promote "American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone." It outlines his proposals for addressing a number of issues including economic security and income inequality.
8. He is articulate and would fare well in presidential debates.
Political observers have praised Rubio's rhetorical skills and he was chosen to deliver the official Republican response to President Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union address.
9. Rubio has considerable political experience.
Before joining the U.S. Senate, he served four terms in the Florida legislature and had stints as speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip. And those who maintain that he would not be a formidable candidate after just one term in the Senate need to be reminded that Obama had been in the Senate barely two years when he announced what would be a successful run for president.
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