As Senator Marco Rubio approaches the final stretch of the early state presidential primaries, he has abandoned frugalness to fund a private jet for his campaign use.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Marco Rubio’s campaign spokesperson Alex Conant argued that it was the best way to utilize Rubio’s time on the campaign trail.
“It’s not just good budgeting, it’s the most effective use of Marco’s time which is the most valuable commodity that we have,” he said. “It allows Marco to meet far more voters in more states.”
Rubio has dramatically increased the number of campaign events to kick off the new year, crisscrossing early primary states with fundraisers in key big cities that help fund their increased spending.
Here is a sample of Rubio’s increasingly busy campaign schedule:
On Monday morning, the Rubio team was in New Hampshire for an event but in Iowa for an event on Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday, they campaigned in Iowa before traveling to Denver for a fundraiser that afternoon and returned to Iowa the same night.
On Wednesday, they were able to campaign in Iowa all day before flying to Texas for a fundraiser before returning to New Hampshire.
Later this evening, Rubio will leave New Hampshire for a fundraiser in New York before returning back to New Hampshire for events on Friday.
Rival campaigns often spend several days at a time in one states as they continue their campaigns in an SUV, aboard a bus, or aboard a commercial flight.
Even Rubio’s bus tour, the Des Moines Register reported, was augmented with cross country travel aboard the jet.
The Rubio campaign acknowledges that they are spending much more money on campaign travel, but the flexibility and speed of the plane allows them to attend more fundraisers. But the tight campaign schedule adds to the notion that the candidate is too busy to waste time personally greeting voters.
Before Christmas, Governor Chris Christie recently mocked Rubio for doing a quick event in New Hampshire before flying out to New York City for a fundraiser. Christie made his remarks aboard his own multi-day campaign bus tour in New Hampshire.
The Rubio campaign hasn’t kept the jet a secret. Rubio admitted to journalists at the Des Moines Register on Wednesday that he switched from commercial fights to private jets to match the speed of his campaign.
“Oh yeah, we can’t get around anymore without that. We’d never make it,” he replied when asked about his private jet after the meeting.
After the CNN debate in Las Vegas in December, Rubio invited NBC reporter Hallie Jackson on board the jet as they traveled to events Iowa and New Hampshire.
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) December 16, 2015
A photo of the jet’s interior shared by Jackson on Twitter showed that the cabin of the plane was decorated with Christmas lights for the upcoming holiday.
“There’s not a lot of down time built into your day, you sort of go, go, go. Is this your down time? Like when you’re on the plane?” Jackson asked during the interview.
“No, I’m doing an interview,” Rubio replied with a grin, as he sat next to a can of Red Bull and shared some of his music on his iPad with Jackson aboard the plane.
Rubio’s spending has increased since the summer when his campaign boasted of their thriftiness compared with Jeb Bush’s big dollar spending habits.
In September of last year, Rubio’s campaign manager Terry Sullivan explained that their team flew “95 percent commercial” during the Summer as he was adamant about making every dollar count.
But Conant argued that the campaign had always planned on spending more as they drew closer to the primaries.
“We always said that we’d ramp as we get closer,” he said. “And because we were frugal early on we’ve had the resources to secure our strategy now.”