Republican Senator Rubio ready to step into race for president

2015-04-17 11:43
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks in National Harbor, Maryland on February 27 2015. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

Sen. Marco Rubio speaks in National Harbor, Maryland on February 27 2015. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

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Miami – Senator Marco Rubio is gathering his strongest supporters in Miami for a flashy political rally expected to serve as his launch into the 2016 Republican presidential race.

The Florida Republican has not said which job he is seeking next year. But given the polish and promotion, it is unlikely the first-term senator will be announcing that he will be seeking a second term in Congress.

His rally comes a day after Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her bid for the Democratic nomination.

That's likely to take some attention from Rubio's jump into the race. But his team sees an opportunity to cast the presidential contest as one between a fresh face and a long-familiar figure.

Rubio faces steep challenges to winning the Republican Party nomination, one of them from his mentor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Rubio would become the third major Republican contender to declare himself a candidate, after Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rand Paul, in a field that could grow to 20 or more candidates.

Rubio, 43, will no doubt hear rivals tell voters he's not ready for the White House.

A first-generation immigrant whose parents fled Cuba, Rubio could make history as the nation's first Hispanic president, as could Cruz. Rubio frames his pitch to voters as the embodiment of the American dream, a son of a maid and bartender who worked his way through law school and now sits in Congress.

His is an appealing biography for a party that has struggled to connect with minority and younger voters, who have been solidly behind Democrats in recent presidential elections.

Rubio has been a leading voice against President Barack Obama's engagement with Cuba and Iran. On Tuesday, he is set to return to the Senate to participate in a hearing about Iran.

But Rubio faces a hurdle with some conservative activists in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over his work on a failed bipartisan immigration bill that proposed a long and difficult pathway to citizenship for those who were in the country illegally.

Rubio has since shifted how he is approaching the thorny subject, saying his bill does not have the support to become law and the first focus should be on border security, a standard Republican position. Rubio ultimately wants to create a process that leads to legal status and, then, citizenship.

Read more on:    marco rubio  |  us elections 2016

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