MARCO RUBIO PICKS UP BACKERS AS GOP FIELD NARROWS

Wall Street Journal on February 21, 2016, reported that important Republican backers are turning to Marco Rubio after his strong position in the South Carolina primary. Excerpts below:

Mr. Norm Coleman – who originally backed South Carolina Sen.Lindsey Graham before he quit the race in December 2015 — is throwing his support to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Virginia Republican fundraiser Bobbie Kilberg, who joined Mr. Bush’s camp last week, said nine donors reached out Sunday to say that if she backed Mr. Rubio, they would, too.

“That’s a lot of people to call you at 10 in the morning on a Sunday,” said Mrs. Kilberg, who originally backed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s now-defunct presidential campaign. “I really believe (Mr. Rubio) is the only candidate around which mainstream Republicans can coalesce in order to win this nomination and win the general election.”

These Republicans view New York billionaire Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as too extreme to win a general election, and they’re skeptical Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson can win the nomination.

“Republicans got what they wanted and needed — a proven, experienced, and electable political leader to emerge as an alternative to Trump,” said Fred Malek, a major Republican donor who has not endorsed a candidate because of his fundraising duties for the Republican Governors Association. “Sen. Rubio has proven the ability to bring people together across the spectrum, not just on the far right.”

Mr. Rubio’s campaign said he picked up support from at least four other prominent donors, including former ambassador Francis Rooney, who donated $2.3 million through his company last year to the pro-Bush super PAC, and Chicago investor Muneer Satter, who gave $550,000 to that super PAC. Other new donors include coal billionaire Joe Craft and former ambassador and Florida developer John Rood.

Endorsements from elected officials behind Mr. Bush are also starting to roll in for Mr. Rubio. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei switched teams Sunday, two days before that state’s Republican caucus.

On February 22, three current and one former members of Congress from Miami who had been backing Mr. Bush – Republicans Carlos Curbelo, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, are expected to throw their support to Mr. Rubio.

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