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Marco Rubio Tells Donors Says He's Running For President

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., addresses an event held by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in January 2014 in Washington.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination for the 2016 contest, multiple news sources are reporting.

Rubio made the remarks in a conference call with donors, The Associated Press and The New York Times reported. Separately, Rubio's adviser told CNN the senator was running for president.

A formal announcement is expected later today.

The news is another chapter in what's been a fast and meteoric rise for the senator in national politics. Rubio served at the state level beginning in 2000 and by 2010, he had been elected to the U.S. Senate.

Almost immediately, Rubio was seen as a Republican Party leader who, as the son of Cuban immigrants, could help turn around the demographic ills of the GOP.

As he was described in a 2013 Time Magazine profile, "the charismatic conservative" had suddenly become the Tea Party's answer to President Obama. So much so, that in 2013 Rubio was picked by the party to deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union speech.

Although Rubio's speech was somewhat overshadowed by him awkwardly reaching for a drink of water, it also introduced Rubio as a Hispanic Republican with moderate views on immigration and with a uniquely American story.

"My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one," Rubio said. "They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn't inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better — the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams."

As The Wall Street Journal reports, since that speech, Rubio has quietly moved into the upper tier of 2016 Republican contenders.

The paper adds:

"[Rubio] gave a well-reviewed performance at a recent gathering of donors organized by the conservative Koch brothers. He has raised eyebrows by securing the services of Jim Merrill, who directed both of Mitt Romney's presidential runs in New Hampshire, and the support of George Seay, a Texas financier who raised money for then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry last time around. He has laid a substantive groundwork with a series of detailed policy speeches over the past year."

With his announcement, Rubio joins a rapidly growing list of presidential hopefuls — on the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced her run over the weekend. And on the Republican side, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul have made their runs official. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has formed an "exploratory committee" for a presidential run.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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