Florida Senator Marco Rubio is likely running for president in 2016.
Rubio has been telling close friends and advisers that he is all but in, signaling to those in-the-know that he has had his fill of the U.S. Senate, and is looking to move up to a higher office, mimicking his former Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat nemesis Charlie Crist.
According to several close friends of Rubio’s, Rubio never liked the Senate to begin with.
During the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Florida, one of Rubio’s main lines of attack against Crist was to ridicule him for not running for reelection for Governor of Florida, instead opting to run for the seat Senator Mel Martinez (R) left open when he stepped down.
Rubio told the AP:
I think that’s reflected in both our travel and some of the staffing decisions that we’ve made… We — if in fact I make that final decision on a run — want those elements to be in place.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a “dozen or so people close to Rubio, including GOP officials, fundraisers and his advisers, say Rubio has told them he is in the final stages of planning the launch of his presidential run and will formally join the crowded field of Republican hopefuls as early as April.”
Again, this is old news. Back in September 2013, Rubio told a close friend that going into 2016, he would rather be towards the back of pack in the recent polling of GOP presidential candidates.
Just this past week, another close friend and adviser of Rubio’s has said that “it [a campaign] is happening,” and a Florida team is quietly being put together.
A Rubio run for president in 2016 would obviously pit him against his friend and political mentor Jeb Bush, who is already out draining establishment Republican donations from the political landscape.
In a head-to-head in Florida, Rubio bests Bush among conservative grassroots activists, but loses the support of the old Republican guard, who have already expressed their support for Bush.
The real problem Rubio will have in 2016 is winning back the trust he lost with conservatives after the full-throated sponsorship and support he gave for his failed Senate immigration reform bill.
Rubio has already stepped back away from the bill, saying that the bill didn’t work, but has not openly stated that he has made a mistake pushing the immigration bill.
Rubio polls poorly against Texas Senator Ted Cruz with conservatives, and that is mainly because of the lack of trust he has instilled in them over his immigration reform woes.
If Rubio were to admit he was wrong and ask supporters for their forgiveness, it would be a game-changing moment for the Senator from West Miami, Florida, as he would certainly be among the favorite 2016 GOP presidential primary candidates.
When you consider doing something like that, you can’t just decide to do it and then start working… You have to have conditions in place to move forward. Some of them are very similar to the ones we’d have to take anyway if we ran for Senate. Others are different.