Donations continue to flow in for presidential hopefuls as they head into Super Tuesday, the single most important presidential contest in the 2016 election. For Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign it’s a moment to seize on “Marcomentum” and win key primary states on Tuesday with 595 delegates up for grabs in the GOP race.
“If you win a state on Super Tuesday there is a possibility that you will win Florida, if Marco wins Florida then he is still in the game,” said Ford O’Connell, Republican strategist and former advisor for the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign.
He says a lot is riding on Rubio’s candidacy for the Republican party now that establishment candidate, Jeb Bush is out of the race.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Dirk Van Dongen, a Washington lobbyist and political power player in fundraising, is asking former Bush backers to “attend a strategy session with top Rubio officials.” Originally a Jeb Bush supporter, Van Dongen is now supporting the Florida Senator and convincing GOP donors to follow his lead. In an email obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Van Dongen tries to convince Bush supporters to coalesce around Rubio because he is “the only one who can beat Trump for the nomination and Hillary Clinton in the general. And he needs the support now, not later.”
“A lot of the Bush supporters have realized that Rubio gives them the best chance to win, in terms of beating Trump in a one on one. I believe if Rubio puts up a ‘W’ and certainly holds on to Florida, then you will see a whole bunch of people supporting him,” said O’Connell.
Republican strategist Doug Heye, who served in the George W. Bush Administration, says while winning is important, narrowing the margins on Super Tuesday will give Rubio’s “under dog” campaign a boost for big money donations.
“Dirk is one of the most respected people in Washington and there is nobody in that world of finance and campaigns who won’t take his call and listen to him. When I saw his name of someone who is coming on board, I thought it’s very good news for Rubio,” said Heye. “These are the things his campaign must do, keep attacking Trump like he has been the last couple days, keep making calls and increase fundraising from Bush supporters.”
O’Connell says Rubio’s recent attacks on Trump’s character have done more than just garner media attention; they also translate into dollars and a platform to connect with voters.
“Rubio is trying to make the case that Trump is not a serious candidate, he is getting wall to wall coverage but what he is really trying to do is drive home the narrative to donors this is a two-person race,” said O’Connell. “Money won’t be enough to take down Trump, but the idea is that money will be able to push Rubio’s message farther.”
In a new CNN poll, Rubio beats Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton 50-47 in a hypothetical matchup while Trump, the GOP frontrunner, loses to both Clinton, 52-44 and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 55-43.