Florida Senator Marco Rubio becomes fourth person to announce White House run

WASHINGTON - Florida Senator Marco Rubio, 43, has confirmed that he will running to be president for the United States, joining an increasingly crowded field of Republicans vying for the White House in 2016.

Mr Rubio, who became senator in 2011, reportedly announced his intentions in a conference call to donors ahead of a planned big bang announcement before supporters later in the day. The Cuban-American is due to make his speech in front of Freedom Tower in Miami, a deeply symbolic choice given the place used to be where the government processed Cuban refugees fleeing from the regime of Fidel Castro.

Ahead of the speech, Mr Rubio has already put up a video on his website offering a preview of his official announcement together with a clock counting down to the speech.

If the five minute clip is any indication, Mr Rubio will run on a platform of restoring America’s strength. The clip closes with the slogan “Marco Rubio: A New American Century”.

While Mr Rubio does face some significant hurdles in his bid for the presidency - for instance he is competing for donors in the same state as Republican establishment pick Jeb Bush - he also has a lot of things going for him.

The young, articulate Mr Rubio is well-liked by moderate Republicans. Some regard him as the Barack Obama of the Republican Party, a fresh face that could upset an establishment pick at the primaries. He has thus far staked out a position that appeals to a far broader base of Republicans than the likes of Texas Senator Ted Cruz or Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Mr Rubio is currently lagging in polls but it could all change once his campaign gets going. He is low down the order in the crowded Republican field and trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by about 7 percentage points.

jeremya@sph.com.sg