Republican establishment presidential candidates Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie have focused their fire on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as part of the GOP nominees’ campaign to win the New Hampshire Republican Primary.
Politico reports that “The three camps are plotting a barrage of criticism in the days to come, largely to accuse Rubio of failing to put in the one-to-one courtship with New Hampshire voters and then attempting to waltz in late and walk away with their hearts.”
“I think the voters will expect a certain level of exposure here that they haven’t gotten in terms of asking [Rubio] tough questions,” a senior Christie campaign adviser told Politico. “These [Rubio] town halls are very quick; they’re in and out. He doesn’t make a speech. He doesn’t really take very many questions. He doesn’t do gaggles with reporters. And so that’s what the voters here expect.”
Christie targeted Rubio as “the boy in the bubble” on Tuesday, challenging the Florida senator to answer to the press in an uncontrolled format.
The Kasich campaign has also gone after Rubio, with his chief strategist John Weaver claiming he has skipped out on the “heavy ground game” campaigning in New Hampshire. The pro-Kasich super PAC, New Day for America, has also produced several attack ads honing in on Rubio, according to the report.
A Bush campaign operative ran a similar line of thought against Rubio, telling Politico the Florida senator “didn’t invest much time here as he did in Iowa.”
The pro-Bush super PAC has dedicated massive resources towards attempting to derail Sen. Rubio’s bid, targeting him in ad campaigns for his inconsistency on immigration, among other issues.
None of the three establishment Republican governors finished in the top five in the Iowa Caucus. They combined for just 6.5 percent of the vote, with Jeb Bush finishing best of the three in sixth place with 2.8 percent.
Recent polling predicts their odds will change in New Hampshire.
A UMass Lowell/7 News poll from Tuesday had Kasich and Bush at 9 percent, with Christie at 5 percent.
Another poll completed by ARG and published Tuesday showed Kasich at 16 percent, Bush at 9 percent, and Christie at 6 percent, which is good for second, fifth, and sixth place respectively.