There had been much speculation as to whether Marco Rubio would launch a presidential campaign following the announcement that Jeb Bush is actively exploring his own prospects in the 2016 field. However, with a book tour on the way, and a fundraising team being assembled, Rubio appears to be building the groundwork for a campaign to launch in the next few months.
Report from ABC News:
Sen. Marco Rubio has begun taking concrete steps toward launching a presidential bid, asking his top advisors to prepare for a campaign, signing on a leading Republican fundraiser, and planning extensive travel to early-voting states in the coming weeks, ABC News has learned.
“He has told us to proceed as if he is running for president,” a senior Rubio advisor tells ABC News.
Leading the effort to raise the $50 million or more he’ll need to run in the Republican primaries will be Anna Rogers, currently the finance director for American Crossroads, the conservative group started by Karl Rove that raised more than $200 million to help elect Republicans over the past two elections.
Rogers will begin working at Rubio’s political action committee on February 1 and would become the finance director of Rubio’s presidential campaign.
Rubio, 43, will gather on Friday and Saturday at the Delano Hotel in Miami with 300 supporters and major donors to his Reclaim America PAC to discuss his political future.
Aides expect Rubio will make a final decision in the comings weeks, but his schedule for the next month already looks more like the schedule of a presidential candidate than a senator.
ABC News has learned Rubio plans to skip all votes in the Senate next week and instead take a campaign fundraising swing through California with events in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, Rancho Sante Fe and Costa Mesa. He also plans fundraising stops in Texas and Chicago.
Rubio has also scheduled a book tour that will take him to all the early primary states. A senior aide to the Florida senator tells ABC News Rubio’s book tour will include stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada. The first stop is tentatively scheduled for February 13 in Des Moines.
Part of me is wondering whether he’s embarking on this journey to make sure he sells enough books, regardless of whether or not he actually launches a presidential bid. To “proceed as if he is running for president” sounds to me like we’re practicing to run for President, not necessarily running. Perhaps at the end of the book tour, he may decide the time isn’t right or he doesn’t want to compete with one of his political mentors, Jeb Bush. However, you can rest assured that an aspiring young senator who is contemplating a presidential run will sell more books than an aspiring young senator content to remain in the Senate. Not that I’m being critical, but the political game is all about calculation, regardless of party.