Rubio in Iowa on eve of key primary
June 2nd, 2014
09:10 AM ET
3 months ago

Rubio in Iowa on eve of key primary

(CNN) - Marco Rubio's in Iowa Monday.

The first-term Republican senator from Florida's in the Hawkeye State to campaign for state senator Joni Ernst, the frontrunner in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary.

But anytime a potential White House contender visits Iowa - the state that kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar – the political world definitely takes notice. And Rubio's trip to Iowa comes a month after he traveled to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

On the eve of the primary, Rubio joins Ernst at a early evening barbecue at her campaign HQ. And the two team up to talk to local reporters and join WHO's Simon Conway, a popular afternoon/early evening drive time talk radio host. And Rubio's Reclaim America PAC went up last week with a TV ad in support of Ernst, spending nearly $200,000 to run the spot statewide on cable TV, digital and radio.

"Excited to join @joniernst tomorrow at 5:00pm at her campaign HQ – final push!" Rubio tweeted Sunday.

Ernst, who's also a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard and who grabbed national attention earlier this year by touting her hog castrating skills in a campaign commercial, has the backing of some top names and groups among both the tea party movement and establishment Republicans.

Last week, the political wing of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which often backs conservative candidates that launch primary challenges against incumbent Republican senators, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which mainly endorses mainstream Republicans, both went up with statewide ad buys in support of Ernst.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Friday 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned with Ernst at two events in eastern Iowa. The state's lieutenant governor, Kim Reynolds, teamed up with Romney and Ernst at those events. And while not officially endorsing her, longtime Gov. Terry Branstad is a supporter. And she's also backed by the National Rife Association, which like the Chamber tends to support more traditional Republicans.

But she also enjoys the support of the political wing of Tea Party Express, a leading national tea party group, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, still influential with many on the right, also recently campaigned with her.

Ernst is facing off against three other major candidates in next Tuesday's primary – businessman Mark Jacobs, former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker, and conservative radio talk show host Sam Clovis. If no candidate cracks 35% of the GOP primary vote, the nomination will be decided by around 2,000 delegates at a state party convention. A Des Moines Register poll released over the weekend put Ernst at 36%, 18-percentage points ahead of Jacobs, who was in second place.

The GOP nominee will face off in the midterm elections against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who faces token opposition in his party's primary. The winner of November's general election will succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who is retiring at the end of the year. If Republicans flip Harkin's seat, and five other Democratic held seats, they will control the Senate.

Rubio and 2016

When it comes to the next race for the White House, it looks like Marco Rubio isn't laying low anymore.

Last month he was in New Hampshire, sounding like a presidential candidate, as headlined the Rockingham County, Republican Committee's annual "Freedom Founders" dinner, held at the historic Wentworth-By-The-Sea hotel just outside of Portsmouth. The senator slammed Democrats and in particular former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who's seriously considering a second White House bid, and if she runs would instantly become the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Rubio puts himself back in 2016 conversation

"Their ideas never worked in the 20th century, much less the 21st, and they're threatening to nominate someone now who wants to take us to the past, to an era that is gone and is never coming back," Rubio told the audience.

The dinner was just one stop during a busy day for Rubio in the Granite State. Earlier, he headlined a fundraiser for the state GOP, held private meetings with some influential Republicans, and sat down for interviews with local media.

Rubio quickly followed his New Hampshire swing with an appearance on ABC's "This Week," where said that he's ready to be commander in chief, "but I think that's true for multiple other people that would want to run."

Rubio added that should he decide to launch a 2016 presidential campaign, he won't run simultaneously for re-election for his seat in the U.S. Senate.

"It's a completely wide open GOP field. None of our fruit is ripe: To move from long shot to frontrunner, every potential GOP candidate has to grow, develop, or overcome a debility and Marco Rubio has as good a shot at doing that as anybody at this point," said Alex Castellanos, a veteran Republican strategist and CNN contributor who last year founded NewRepublican.org.

The recent moves by Rubio put the first-term senator back in the 2016 spotlight, which he's avoided for much of the past year.

Early last year Rubio's name was near or at the top of public opinion polls of Republicans' choice for their party's 2016 presidential nomination. But Rubio's numbers slipped after his high-profile support for a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last June. The measure, which stalled in the House, included an eventual pathway to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants, which is strongly opposed by many conservatives.

Rubio's numbers in 2016 polls quickly faded, and have remained in the single digits in surveys asking Republicans their choice for the party's presidential nomination. Rubio stood in ninth place, at 6%, in the most recent CNN/ORC International poll, which was conducted a month ago.

Many of the other potential Republican White House hopefuls, such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, 2012 GOP presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have made numerous trips to New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary, over the past year and a half.

Rubio did not, until now.

 


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Iowa • Joni Ernst • Marco Rubio • New Hampshire
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Rubio 2016? Are you kidding me? Sen. Rubio has yet to demonstrate that he's even able to be a Senator, much less POTUS.

    June 2, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    --full of trash.

    June 2, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Republican chances of winning back the White House appears grim again because moderate candidates like Sen Rubio are forced to move to the extreme right of the political spectrum during the primaries. Time Magazine's savior of the Republican Party turned out to be a straw man.

    June 2, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Fed up

    Rudy NYC

    Rubio 2016? Are you kidding me? Sen. Rubio has yet to demonstrate that he's even able to be a Senator, much less POTUS.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed. We should learn from our mistakes of electing an unproven Senator will little experience.

    June 2, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    No chance of winning.

    June 2, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. drake mallard

    The same Marco Rubio? That Talks Big but Fails to Deliver?

    .Rubio is a product of entitlement through the mechanisms of the most corrupt political system I have seen (at the surface) during my lifetime in Florida. what did this mor on accomplish other than running up a tab on the taxpayers backs

    June 2, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. drake mallard

    Marco Rubio trying to look more Hispanic by referring to the same Marco Rubio who talks big but fails to deliver? I am a firm believer of Washington living by the same standards as the people, across the board (in terms of benefits, salaries, vacations, retirement, etc.). The question is, is this guy in over his head or not ? Am I alone in thinking he is not representing all Floridians? It's time to recall Marco Rubio or vote him out of office.

    June 2, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Fed up

    Rudy NYC

    Rubio 2016? Are you kidding me? Sen. Rubio has yet to demonstrate that he's even able to be a Senator, much less POTUS.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed. We should learn from our mistakes of electing an unproven Senator will little experience.
    ==================================================================
    Agreed. We should keep the lesson in mind whenever conservatives want to nominate a former CEO. They were all in office when their economic polices begat the largest recessions that we have experienced over the past 100 years.

    June 2, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Sniffit

    Rubio: A Study in Being Useless.

    June 2, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Sniffit

    "Their ideas never worked in the 20th century, much less the 21st"

    Liberal/progressive ideas are why we have a middle-class and elderly people are not rotting in the streets, you delusional moron.

    June 2, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Fed up

    Rudy NYC

    Fed up

    Rudy NYC

    Rubio 2016? Are you kidding me? Sen. Rubio has yet to demonstrate that he's even able to be a Senator, much less POTUS.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed. We should learn from our mistakes of electing an unproven Senator will little experience.
    ==================================================================
    Agreed. We should keep the lesson in mind whenever conservatives want to nominate a former CEO. They were all in office when their economic polices begat the largest recessions that we have experienced over the past 100 years.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed. We should also keep the lesson in mind when voting for unqualified lawyers that tinker around in the housing and financial markets by forcing lenders to offer loans to individuals who can't afford it contributing to the largest recession in the past 100 years.

    June 2, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "Republican chances of winning back the White House appears grim again because moderate candidates like Sen Rubio are forced to move to the extreme right of the political spectrum during the primaries."

    Setting aside whether or not Rudio truly is "moderate" or not, let me make a change to that to illustrate the REAL point:

    "Republican chances of winning back the White House appears grim again because moderate candidates like So-and-So are WILLING to move to the extreme right of the political spectrum to pander for votes."

    FIFY

    June 2, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "Agreed. We should also keep the lesson in mind when voting for unqualified lawyers that tinker around in the housing and financial markets by forcing lenders to offer loans to individuals who can't afford it contributing to the largest recession in the past 100 years."

    Aaaaw, still refusing to admit that none of it would have happened or gone as bad if Wall Street hadn't tried to spin straw into gold and line their pockets? Again, a wave of foreclosures and a housing bubble bursting would not have led to the recession we suffered had it not been for Wall Street gambling and deliberate malfeasance that put the entire global economy at risk AND caused it to tank when the bubble burst. Had it been nothing but a cyclical bubble, we'd have recovered in no time. Instead, the entire financial industry played extremely reckless games to enrich themselves and the gov't was left powerless and clueless over it because of deregulation and the GOP's unwillingness to commit to thorough oversight. Anyone who engages in the overly simplistic, superficial blather blaming the subprime mortgages themselves is doing nothing but blaming the kindling for the forest fire. The arsonists were all on Wall Street.

    June 2, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. rs

    Rubio (as possible Presidential material) is simply symptomatic of the problem the GOP has- he might actually be one of their better candidates. We have been treated to in the last couple of weeks to the anti-American shut-down Cruz; witless Rand Paul; the pizza guy back for an encore; the usual lack of clarity from Gov.Perry; "what bridge?" Mr. Christy; Mr.Romney pontificating on everything (and so must be thinking of losing again_. The list just goes on and on- and it is only 2014.

    Add to that the fact there is still no policy statements from the Right (just NO!) to show their vision. Hopefully, we're not to assume the taking of civil rights, voting rights and women's rights is their real policy platforms to "taking America back" . They seemingly have nothing to run on at all as far as accomplishments (unless one counts their record number of filibusters).

    Does Mr. Piebus believe we want to see their frat party ethos in action for 2 full years (although that might be better, more entertaining and certainly more light-hearted than their scandal de jour fundraising marathon to endure).

    Oh, well. Godspeed Mr. Rubio, Iowa won't be full until you're in it.

    June 2, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. salty dog

    Too funny, rich people paying a bunch of money to have some bozo tell them what they want to hear, in an attempt to get more money from them, nice!

    June 2, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Why? Did he need a change of scenery, or did he get ran out of his own area on a rail?

    June 2, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. tom l

    I guess I am now "with the terrorists" since I disagree with rs. I think congrats are in order since he is now absolutely, positively no different from George Bush. We are not supposed to think for ourselves any longer according to rs. We are just supposed to agree with our Commander in Chief and if we disagree with him then we are unpatriotic and siding with the terrorists.

    One question, rs. What happens if one of the 5 that were set free kills one person? Will it be worth it then? What if he kills 2 people? Then we just saved one but lost 2.

    June 2, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Agreed. We should keep the lesson in mind whenever conservatives want to nominate a former CEO. They were all in office when their economic polices begat the largest recessions that we have experienced over the past 100 years.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed. We should also keep the lesson in mind when voting for unqualified lawyers that tinker around in the housing and financial markets by forcing lenders to offer loans to individuals who can't afford it contributing to the largest recession in the past 100 years.
    --------------------------------–
    Agreed. I suggest that you look up the A.D.D.I. of 2004, American Dream Downpayment Initiative. Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House. Check out the text of the speech Bush made to introduce it. That would be the one where he encouraged people to go out and buy homes without seeking professional advice. He compared signing a mortgage to taking out a new car loan.

    June 2, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. tom l

    Agreed. We should keep the lesson in mind whenever conservatives want to nominate a former CEO. They were all in office when their economic polices begat the largest recessions that we have experienced over the past 100 years.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed. We should also keep the lesson in mind when voting for unqualified lawyers that tinker around in the housing and financial markets by forcing lenders to offer loans to individuals who can't afford it contributing to the largest recession in the past 100 years.
    ----------––
    Agreed. I suggest that you look up the A.D.D.I. of 2004, American Dream Downpayment Initiative. Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House. Check out the text of the speech Bush made to introduce it. That would be the one where he encouraged people to go out and buy homes without seeking professional advice. He compared signing a mortgage to taking out a new car loan.
    ========
    Great! And it was the democrats that helped to loosen those standards and strongly enforce the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act). Can we just please agree that it was both sides that were motivated by money/votes and did not do the right thing? Can we please just acknowledge that there is culpability on both sides? Why must you always always blame repubs when dems are just as much to blame? Or are you denying the huge support for someone like Franklin Raines? It's both sides and once again you will only point to one side.

    June 2, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. tom l

    But what do I know? I'm just an unpatriotic terrorist supporter according to rs...

    June 2, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Agreed. I suggest that you look up the A.D.D.I. of 2004, American Dream Downpayment Initiative. Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House. Check out the text of the speech Bush made to introduce it. That would be the one where he encouraged people to go out and buy homes without seeking professional advice. He compared signing a mortgage to taking out a new car loan.
    ========
    Great! And it was the democrats that helped to loosen those standards and strongly enforce the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act). Can we just please agree that it was both sides that were motivated by money/votes and did not do the right thing?
    -----------------------–
    Great? I cite the law that *Republicans* passed, and you turn right around and blame it on Democrats. Why don't you tell us what changes by the Democrats, and when, that you're talking about? Just make sure that you don't leave out the changes made under the Bush administration. Yes, I am blaming conservative policies as the major contributing factors to the Great Recession of 2007, which is when it officially began.

    June 2, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. smith

    @Tom l-Whatt happends if evidence shows that Bergdahl did go awol? There needs to be an investigation for sure on this matter.

    June 2, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. rs

    tom l

    I guess I am now "with the terrorists" since I disagree with rs.
    _____________________
    What in the world is wrong with you? Really?

    What do nations do at the end of wars? Did we keep German and Japanese POWs after WWII? Think hard! Getting one of our own back is good- keeping prisoners of war is illegal after hostilities end-you wouldn't want that right (although the GOP might fundraise off of that too).
    We can't keep POWs in Gitmo forever, and Congress never let then face trial. So-unless you want to keep some nice Talibaners in your house as doormen...

    June 2, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Fed up

    Agreed. We should keep the lesson in mind whenever conservatives want to nominate a former CEO. They were all in office when their economic polices begat the largest recessions that we have experienced over the past 100 years.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed. We should also keep the lesson in mind when voting for unqualified lawyers that tinker around in the housing and financial markets by forcing lenders to offer loans to individuals who can't afford it contributing to the largest recession in the past 100 years.
    ----------––
    Agreed. I suggest that you look up the A.D.D.I. of 2004, American Dream Downpayment Initiative. Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House. Check out the text of the speech Bush made to introduce it. That would be the one where he encouraged people to go out and buy homes without seeking professional advice. He compared signing a mortgage to taking out a new car loan.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I think you are missing my point.
    1. I agree Rubio is not qualified to even run for POTUS.
    2. I agree (as do many) that President Obama (while an intelligent man) was not qualified nor had the experience to be
    POTUS.
    3. I agree that a former CEO does not make a qualification for POTUS.
    4. I agree that unqualified lawyers (D and R) should not be tinkering around with legislation that can cause economic disaster without putting the right controls in place.

    The problem is now where do we go from here and have we learned anything from it while taking off the partisan glasses. JMTC

    June 2, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. rs

    tom l

    But what do I know? I'm just an unpatriotic terrorist supporter according to rs...
    _________________
    You were strangely sympathetic to Mr. Bundy- he's a real patriot, right?

    June 2, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
1 2 3