With Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie embattled in his “Bridgegate” scandal, top Republican donors may be looking at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as their alternative to Christie.
According to The Hill, GOP fundraisers like Bill Paxon, the New York Republican who is at the Akin Gump law firm, Dirk Van Dongen, the president of the National Wholesalers Association, and Wayne Berman, who represents the big-business interests, have recently been raising money for him.
They represent the “business wing of the Republican Party that has clashed with the Tea Party,” and The Hill notes that “their support may indicate that K Street donors see Rubio as a potential ally going forward.”
After co-writing the Senate’s immigration reform bill last year with Sens. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that included a pathway to citizenship provision that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers, Rubio’s support among conservatives plummeted to the point where Rubio became silent on the bill after it passed. K Street and big-business interests, though, have been coveting amnesty legislation for a decade, and their support–and the opening Christie may have left–may make Rubio think about whether there may be more to gain by moving to the center to get more moderate votes and add to his coffers.
Before weighing a 2016 run, though, Rubio will have to deal with two factors. First, as The Hill notes, since Rubio is up for Senate reelection in 2016, he will have to decide whether a presidential run would be worth losing his Senate seat since “Florida law does not allow Rubio to run simultaneously for the Senate and the White House.” Second, Rubio will have to weigh whether his friend, mentor, and ally Jeb Bush will throw his hat into the 2016 ring since many of their donors and supporters, especially in Florida, would overlap.