As his field of potential competitors takes shape, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is taking concrete steps to run for president in 2016, an aide to the senator confirms to CBS News.
He’s brought someone onboard to oversee his fundraising efforts; he’s getting a head start on early fundraising; and he’ll visit early primary and caucus states as part of his book tour. The news was first reported by ABC.
Rubio has hired Anna Rogers, the finance director of the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads Super PAC, to lead his fundraising effort. American Crossroads poured more than $200 million into the 2012 and 2014 elections on behalf of Republicans. Rogers would become the finance director of Rubio’s presidential bid, aiming to raise $50 million or more to compete in the GOP presidential primary.
Though he’s not expected to make his bid official for several weeks, Rubio is getting an early start on fundraising for his Super PAC. The senator is planning a swing through California to raise money, with stops in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, and Rancho Sante Fe. He’ll also visit Texas and Chicago.
And as part of the book tour for his newly-released political tome “American Dreams,” Rubio will visit a number of early primary and caucus states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and his native Florida.
Rubio, 43, was first elected in 2010 as part of the Republican wave that year, and he’s enjoyed support from both establishment and grassroots Republicans. As a young, telegenic Latino in a party that has struggled to court minorities and young voters, he’s been mentioned as a possible candidate for higher office for years.
He’s seen his appeal among hard-core conservatives erode in recent years, thanks in part to his support for the Senate’s 2013 comprehensive immigration bill and the rise of insurgent colleagues (and potential 2016 competitors) like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.
Rubio also may find he has a tough time competing for the allegiance of the establishment, deprived of oxygen by 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with whom Rubio was close during his time as the speaker of Florida’s state House.
Earlier this month, though, Rubio told “CBS This Morning” that he’s not sweating the moves of potential competitors.
“If I run for president it won’t be against anyone, it will be because I believe I have an agenda that no one else is offering on our side of the aisle,” Rubio said. “If I decide the best place to serve America at this time in my life is as president of the United States, I’ll run for president, and I’m confident we can put together a campaign that makes us competitive and allows us to win.”
CBS News’ Steve Chaggaris contributed to this report.