A day after Hillary’s awkward kickoff, Sen. Marco Rubio made his White House bid official via Miami’s Freedom Tower. This made him the third GOP candidate to announce in the last 30 days.
Rubio called this election a time for “our generation” to take the lead into the future rather than opting for “a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday.” These comments were fairly obvious swipes at both Bush and Clinton.
His kickoff at Freedom Tower was strategic for at least two reasons. First, it is the epicenter of his Miami fundraising base which has given him a respectable start despite Jeb Bush’s $100 million first-quarter goal.
Second, it was the landing point for tens of thousands of Cuban refugees fleeing the Castro dictatorship in the 1960s, among whom were Rubio’s parents. The come-from-nothing narrative is one he will lead with as the antidote to Hillary’s new every-man theme.
So far the conservative camp is split as to whether Rubio has a legitimate shot in the long line of conservative candidates for the GOP nomination. Erick Erickson argues that, in his 2010 race, it was Rubio who was able to strike the perfect balance between the Tea Party and mainline conservative Republicans when he came from behind to beat Charlie Crist.
But detractors point, in every single poll taken among likely GOP primary voters, Rubio is not the first choice as the standard-bearer for the conservative cause. Moreover, he will have to wrest that from the hands of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul or perhaps another candidate.