Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is making moves that suggest he will be among Republicans seeking to occupy the Oval Office and friends and allies say he may do so as early as next month, .
Nearly a dozen people close to Rubio, including GOP officials, fundraisers and his advisers, say Rubio has told them he is in the final stages of planning the launch of his presidential run and will formally join the field of Republican hopefuls as early as April,The Associated Press reported. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
Rubio said during over the weekend in speeches at the Conservative Public Action Conference and at the conservative Club For Growth in Palm Beach that his decision is still pending though also admitted he is making moves that make it look as though he'll seek the White House in 2016.
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"I think that's reflected in both our travel and some of the staffing decisions that we've made. We – if in fact I make that final decision on a run – want those elements to be in place," Rubio said.
Republican strategist Danny Vargas said Rubio has the ability to bridge the conservative with pragmatic and would bring many talents and abilities, including excellent communication, to a presidential run. He's also got an abundance of energy that is needed for such a campaign and the foreign policy acumen that will be a big topic of the 2016 race, Vargas said to NBC News.
Vargas acknowledged that Rubio took a hit by shying away from his initial support for comprehensive immigration reform – he was one of the Gang of Eight who wrote the Senate bill – "but there are still people who very much appreciate his conservative voice," Vargas said.
Rubio's advisers also have told party leaders that they should expect to recruit a candidate to run for his Senate seat in 2016, according to four people involved in the talks, who discussed the private conversation with the AP on the condition of anonymity because Rubio has not notified the National Republican Senatorial Committee of his plans.
Rubio's team has been preparing for a national campaign. His top political adviser and likely campaign manger, Terry Sullivan, has been recruiting operatives – including Jim Merrill, who ran Romney's New Hampshire campaigns and his Senate office spokesman Alex Conant is leaving this week to begin work on Rubio's political action committee.
--This report includes material from The Associated Press