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This post is part of Election Projection's continuing series introducing each 2016 presidential candidate. Follow the link at the end for more information on Marco Rubio, including personal information, family status, education and past political experience, as well as links to Rubio's biography and ideological positions.

After serving for 9 years in the Florida House of Representatives, the last two as Speaker, Cuban-American Marco Rubio burst onto the national scene in 2009 when he announced he would run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mel Martinez. Florida governor Charlie Crist, a Republican at the time, also jumped into the race. Crist's moderate record could not withstand the charisma and conservatism of the photogenic Rubio. Eventually, after losing an early double-digit lead in the polls, Crist decided to concede the GOP nomination to Rubio and run as an independent.

Crist's move worked well for Rubio, and he earned a spot in Washington in 2010 with a 19-point victory over the former Republican. Democrat Kendrick Meek finished third with 20% of the vote. During the last four years in the Senate, Rubio has compiled a sterling conservative record, achieving a lifetime conservative rating of 98% from the American Conservative Union and a 93% conservative rating from Heritage Action for America.

Despite the certified conservative voting record, Rubio falls into persona-non-grata status among some in the Republican Party because of one issue. In 2013, he joined the 'Gang of Eight' bipartisan senators who crafted comprehensive immigration reform. The legislation angered hard line immigration reform opponents, some of whom seem bent on disqualifying any candidate who doesn't adhere exactly to their stance on that one issue.

Illegal immigration reform notwithstanding, Marco Rubio is a very strong candidate, both in the primaries and in the general election. I don't agree with the message that he is the new establishment candidate now that Jeb Bush has faded - his record reflects anything but. And I think he is well-suited to win the presidency next November - as long as narrow-mindedness doesn't trump the day in the GOP primaries.

Republican Nomination Odds:  25%
30-day Trend:  UP
Candidate Page:  Marco Rubio, 2016 Presidential Candidate

posted by Scott Elliott at 4:21pm 11/16/15 :: link
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