Republican sources cited by Bloomberg are confirming Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s plans to run as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016, with an announcement scheduled for April 13 in the city of Miami.
Rubio would formally join his colleague, fellow Cuban-American Senator Ted Cruz, who announced his candidacy earlier this week. They are all but certain to be followed by several big names in the GOP, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Rubio, 43, will make the announcement in the iconic Freedom Tower in downtown Miami.
Rubio's team has been preparing for a national campaign for months. His top political adviser and likely campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, has been recruiting operatives — including Jim Merrill, who ran Romney's New Hampshire campaigns and was at Rubio's side for a two-day visit to the state last week. Spokesman Alex Conant is leaving Rubio's Senate office this week to begin work at his political action committee.
"When you consider doing something like that, you can't just decide to do it and then start working," Rubio said. "You have to have conditions in place to move forward. Some of them are very similar to the ones we'd have to take anyway if we ran for Senate. Others are different."
He was elected to Congress as part of the 2010 tea party wave and was a darling of conservatives who wield significant influence in Republican primaries. But he angered some of his supporters by helping to negotiate a bipartisan immigration bill that included a pathway to citizenship for millions of people already living in the U.S. illegally.
A member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, Rubio became a frequent critic of Obama's foreign policy and staked out hawkish positions on the Islamic State group, on Iran and on combating Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Rubio was among 47 Republican senators who signed a letter to Iran's leadership warning that Congress could upend a deal being worked out with Obama to control Tehran's nuclear program. Rubio has also said that if elected president, he would be willing to defy European allies if necessary to revoke a deal he might inherit.
A Cuban-American whose parents left the island before Fidel Castro took power, Rubio has assailed Obama's resumption of diplomatic relations with the communist nation after a half-century freeze. And he's become one of Capitol Hill's leading voices accusing Venezuela's government of human rights abuses and a brutal crackdown on political opponents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.