Marco Rubio is running for president: Five things to know

The Florida senator has officially said he will run for president

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The Independent US

Marco Rubio became the third Republican to announce his intentions to run for president of the US and will hold an event Monday night to kick off his campaign, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Mr Rubio is also the third Republican presidential candidate who has tea-party credentials, representing the interests of the right wing of the conservative party. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are the other Republicans who have announced they will run for president.

 

But the Florida senator is expected to attract more interest from the core of the Republican base than either Mr Cruz or Mr Paul, possibly making him the most popular Republican in the race so far.

That popularity contest surely will change as other names, such as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, enter the race, but here are five things to know about the freshman senator.

His family history

Mr Rubio was born in the US to Cuban parents, who were naturalised when Rubio was a toddler, ABC News reported. The Florida senator’s grandfather came to the US in 1956, but returned to Cuba after Fidel Castro took power.

After finding that the rise in communism in Cuba did not pave the way to a better life, Mr Rubio’s grandfather came to the US illegally in 1962, according to the Washington Post. A judge ordered him to return to Cuba, but he stayed in the US and was naturalised five years later.

Mr Rubio has said his grandfather was a huge influence in his life.

He is against restoring relations with Cuba

Growing up with Cuban parents taught Mr Rubio to oppose the Castro regime and he has stood firm against President Barack Obama’s effort to restore diplomatic relations with the Caribbean island.

“Five years from now, Cuba will still be a dictatorship – but a much more profitable one,” Mr Rubio told ABC.

This isn’t his first time sniffing the US presidency

The Florida senator was on the short list of candidates to be Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential candidate in 2012, according to the New York Times. But the party eventually chose Paul Ryan after deciding that Mr Rubio had not been vetted thoroughly enough.

He has struggled with his position on immigration

In 2013, Mr Rubio was part of the bipartisan team of US senators who drafted immigration legislation allowing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the US, which prompted backlash from the Republicans.

He has since taken a step back from this legislation, saying that immigration reform starts with securing the southern US border, the Times reported.

He will play on his youth to try and secure the nomination

Mr Rubio, 43, is the youngest potential presidential candidate and is expected to campaign on being the so-called new generation of conservatives. The Republican Party has been making an effort to secure younger voters and he could be the candidate to energize the party.

The Florida senator is a well-documented fan of hip-hop music, even quoting rapper Jay-Z during a Senate filibuster.

 

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