MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is taking steps to run for president, according to one of his aides.READ MORE: What we know about the victims of the Texas school shooting
Rubio is said to have hired a new fundraiser and is set to visit early primary and caucus states next month, his aide told CBSNews.
While he is not expected to make his bid official for several weeks, he is getting an early start on fundraising.
The freshman senator from Florida was seen entering the Delano Hotel on South Beach Friday evening for a meeting with a group known as “Team Marco 2016”.
Nelson Diaz, the chair of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, was in attendance.
“Senator Rubio has always been a very thoughtful person,” Diaz told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. “I’ve never known him to be an impulsive decision maker. I worked for him for several years. I’ve known him for almost 20 years now and he’s always been that way. He’s always be someone who thoroughly thinks things through.”
Rubio is now talking to the wealthy donors who have helped his campaign in the past, according to CBSNews.
Past actions have indicated he was preparing for a presidential run, for instance, the people he hired and his presence in policy across the board.
On Wednesday, Rubio said he can win the next presidential election.
In an interview with CBS4 News on Wednesday, Rubio hinted he might soon pull the trigger on a presidential run.
“If I want to run for president I don’t have forever to make that choice,” Rubio said in a live interview. “To run a national campaign you need the time to get yourself organized.”
In an interview with the Associated Press Rubio spoke optimistically of a presidential bid.READ MORE: Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday Starts This Weekend
“I believe that if I decide to run for president, we have a path to be a very competitive candidate, and ultimately to win,” Rubio said.
“I can’t guarantee a victory. Certainly these races will be very competitive, and there’s factors outside of our control that will determine a lot of it,” he said. “But if we made the decision to run for president, I believe that we can put together the organization and raise the money necessary to win.”
Should Rubio get into the race, he’ll join a field expected to include several high-profile Republicans, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. His greatest potential challenge, however, may come from Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who last month announced plans to actively consider a presidential run and has spent recent weeks laying the groundwork for a national campaign.
Bush is – or was – Rubio’s close friend and mentor. Pundits said that relationship is over with today’s news.
“It represents the final nail in the coffin between his relationship with Jeb Bush, now a very public parting,” said Fernand Amandi of the political consulting firm Bendixen and Amandi.
“We have a lot of talented people in the Republican Party,” Rubio said of Bush, who served as governor while Rubio was rising in state politics. “Jeb is one of them. But there are others, too.”
There was no comment from a representative for the Bush campaign.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami-Dade County, a big Bush supporter, had kind words for Rubio, but predicted that he would be eliminated in the early primaries if he pursues the nomination.
“I believe that if Jeb stays in the race, and he is, Marco eventually will decide to do something else, and wait his time and go again,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
Amandi, the consultant, said Rubio has historically had a political Midas touch.
“Marco Rubio has been very successful politically with a meteoric rise,” Amandi said. “In some seemingly impossible races, he has managed to win and he’s now running for the ultimate prize.”Going To The Miami Beach Air And Sea Show This Memorial Day Weekend? Here's What You Can Expect
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