The Corner

Rubio Snags Top Donor Ahead of 2016

Jeb Bush’s decision to run in 2016 has prompted plenty of speculation about whether there will be enough top-dollar donors, particularly in Florida, to accommodate Marco Rubio’s own presidential aspirations. 

These days, depending on how much money one has, it only takes one, and Rubio, it seems, has him. He is Miami billionaire Norman Braman, a former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles and the owner of a string of high-end Florida auto dealerships. He is one of the top five donors to Republican causes in the state of Florida and a longtime Rubio backer who has resisted the gravitational pull that the Bush campaign has exerted on many donors. Sheldon Adelson demonstrated in 2012 the power of the individual in the post-Citizens United era, bankrolling almost single-handedly Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign for months. 

If Rubio runs for president, and he is expected to make an announcement next month, Braman says he will “provide substantial financial support” to his campaign. He declined to give an exact number, but the figure is rumored to be around $10 million. Braman says he will not found his own super PAC, but that if a pro-Rubio super PAC is formed, he will “certainly” be contributing. 

“I’ve known Senator Rubio for a number of years and I’ve watched his career for a number of years and honestly believe he’s the finest candidate,” Braman says. The two have known each other for a while now: Braman and his wife, Irma, gave substantially to Rubio’s 2010 camapaign and traveled to Israel with the couple later that year. Rubio’s wife, Jeanette, has also worked for the Braman Family Foundation. 

In a phone interview with National Review Online, Braman focuses on one of the issues that threatens to dog Bush as the primaries get underway.

“Rubio represents the future,” he says. 

Rubio, who has been keeping a low profile while his former mentor, Bush, has been crisscrossing the country vacuuming up cash — he’s had to ask donors to keep their contributions under a million dollars — will have to tap that sentiment if and when he jumps into the race. 

“He’s the only candidate I’ve seen that has come up with answers to our problems in detail,” Braman says. “All the other candidates that I’ve seen, all they do is just complain.”

In Rubio, he says, “I’ve seen somebody who isn’t just complaining about the present situation but has a plan to do something about it.”

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