The Rubio Campaign in Hindsight

Marco Rubio Speaks to a Supporters at a Campaign Rally in Miami

Marco Rubio officially jumped into the 2016 Presidential Campaign on April 13, 2015. Rubio has represented Florida in the U.S. Senate since 2011. Prior to beginning his career in politics, Rubio earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, in 1993, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, where he graduated cum laude in 1996. The same year he got his law degree, Rubio worked on Bob Dole’s presidential campaign and two years later, at the age of 27, he mounted his own, successful campaign for a seat as City Commissioner in West Miami. Rubio spent two years there before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives, where he would serve until launching his Senate campaign in 2009.

Rubio represented the 111th district in the Florida House of Representatives, when he won a vacant seat in a 1999 special election. Rubio was appointed as a Majority Whip during his first year in the House, in 2003 he was appointed Majority Leader, and in 2006 he become Speaker of the House. During his time as Speaker he created an ambitious program to find and implement ways to improve the state government. He invited residents around the state to a series of meetings and used their suggestions and ideas to create the “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future,” subsequently presenting these ideas to the legislature; over half of them eventually found their way into Florida law.

Rubio left the Florida House of Representatives in 2009 to challenge former Florida Governor Charlie Christ for a recently vacated Florida Senate seat. He was considered by many to be an underdog, but he campaigned on a platform of curbing federal spending and won. Rumors of a Rubio 2016 Presidential election bid began almost as soon as he got to the Senate in 2011, and there was a lot of talk of him becoming the Vice Presidential candidate under Mitt Romney in 2012. After the 2012 elections a number of early polls showed positive support for a 2016 Rubio presidential run, and in 2014 groups supporting Rubio began raising money to make preparations for a campaign.

Rubio’s presidential slogan was “A New American Century,” and during his campaign he frequently mentioned, “restoring the hope and promise that the American Dream”. He drew heavily on his own family’s story, to illustrate his points about hard work and the middle class. Rubio parents, Mario and Oriales Rubio came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1956 and as a Senator Rubio has been a vocal defender of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. At one point, during his Senate campaign, Rubio claimed that his parents had escaped Cuba during the revolution, but later walked back those statements in light of the fact that they left Cuba before Castro came to power. What is undoubtedly true is that both Rubio parents did work hard in a range of jobs, from bar tending, to house-keeping, to retail in order to provide for Marco and his three siblings. Rubio was born in Miami in 1971 and his family spent most of his childhood there except for a few years when they lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the Rubio family’s stint in Nevada they briefly attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but generally have been practicing Catholics. Rubio also spent some time attending an evangelical church, but has since reaffirmed his commitment to Catholicism. In 1998 Rubio married his wife Jeanette in the Catholic Church and they have four children.

In addition to the American Dream Rubio has focused his campaign around tax breaks for families, defending “traditional marriage”, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and gun rights. He has been sharply critical of President Obama and has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected. His attacks on the President, and some of his other talking points, have become somewhat scripted and recently he’s come under fire for repeating memorized speeches. Rubio has also received some criticism for his initial support for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 - a bill that eventually failed but would have created a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In the large field of Republican candidates, Rubio has stood out for his position supporting paid family leave. Though he is more conservative than the majority of Republicans, many saw him as the most moderate and by extension possibly the most generally electable, Republican left in the race after the departure of Bush and he had strong support among Latinos, an increasingly politically powerful demographic. However, his loss to Trump in Rubio’s home state of Florida proved to be an insurmountable blow to Rubio and he officially suspended his campaign on March 15. Rubio has yet to announce whether he will be officially endorsing any of the remaining candidates in the race.

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