It didn’t happen on the debate stage or at the ballot box, but Marco Rubio won a major victory Friday night by securing the support of a major Republican donor.
Paul Singer, a hedge fund manager who has amassed a fortune of about $2 billion, has thrown his support behind Rubio, reported The New York Times. As of Friday, Singer had not committed himself yet in the GOP field.
“[Rubio is] the best explainer of conservatism in public life today, and one of the best communicators the modern Republican Party has seen,” Singer wrote in a letter to other potential donors. “Marco Rubio can appeal to both the head and the heart.”
The move will likely yield Rubio millions of dollars for a campaign that until now has distinguished itself as a shoestring, low-cost operation. Singer is also a major bundler for other donors, and sent some of them a letter Friday, arguing Rubio is the candidate in the best position to defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Singer was one of the first major GOP donors to back Rubio in his upstart primary challenge against Charlie Crist for Florida’s Senate seat in 2010.
Rubio may have gained his new donor thanks to his strong showing in Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate. After relatively low-key performances in the first two GOP showdowns, Rubio acquitted himself well when challenged by the moderators on his personal spending and by Jeb Bush regarding his missed Senate votes. The performance was a likely tipping point for Singer, who just days ago remained skeptical of Rubio’s campaign strategy.
Singer’s doubts seemed to have vanished. Singer lauds Rubio as a serious thinker on foreign policy and an “informed and assertive decision-maker” in his letter to Republican donors.
His endorsement is all the more important because it denies that same endorsement to several other Republicans. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie were both jockeying for his support.
Now, Bush has suffered yet another tough blow to a campaign that has struggled with staff cutbacks, slowed fundraising, and drops in the polls. For a candidate who chief asset was his strong fundraising and aura of inevitability, this latest development may just prove lethal. Christie, meanwhile, has missed another big donor who could have helped kickstart a campaign that has struggled to get off the ground.
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