Rubio Reaches Out to N.H. Republicans

by Robert Costa

Senator Marco Rubio recently reached out to several New Hampshire Republican leaders, stoking chatter among the state’s political class about his interest in a 2016 presidential run.

The calls were made earlier this month, after a group of former state–GOP chairmen co-wrote an op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader on immigration reform. In the piece, they hail Rubio as a “conservative leader,” and urge Republicans to pass the Gang of Eight’s bill.

One by one, Rubio dialed the Granite State power brokers and thanked them for their support. The call list was a who’s who of connected New Hampshire Republicans: Steve Duprey, John Stabile, Wayne Semprini, Fergus Cullen, and Wayne MacDonald.

Duprey, a Concord-based businessman and member of the Republican National Committee, is best known as a former senior adviser to Senator John McCain’s New Hampshire campaigns. Semprini once worked as Rudy Giuliani’s strategist. Cullen, for his part, supported Jon Huntsman’s campaign, and Stabile was a prominent fundraiser for Mitt Romney.

Sources familiar with the calls say the exchanges were warm and friendly — and an informal way for both sides to quietly express their interest in working together. A few of the former chairmen invited the Florida Republican to come to speak in New Hampshire later this year. Rubio was agreeable, and told them he’d stay in touch.

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