US Republican Senator Marco Rubio has told his donors he is running for US president in 2016. His announcement comes a day after Hillary Clinton launched her bid for the Democratic nomination.
First-term Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Monday became the latest and youngest Republican in the race to succeed US President Barack Obama in the White House.
The 43-year-old from Florida used a conference call with his major donors to announce his candidacy ahead of a launch event scheduled to be held on Monday night in Miami.
Rubio, a Cuban-American who is fluent in Spanish, is expected to paint himself as a next-generation candidate who can offer something different from older contenders, including Former Republican Gov. of Florida Jeb Bush, 62, and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, 67, who announced her candidacy on Sunday.
"The Republican Party, for the first time in a long time, has a chance in this election to be the party of the future," Rubio told his donors.
"Just yesterday, we heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday, but I feel that this country has always been about tomorrow."
Republican number three
Rubio will be the third Republican to formally throw his hat into the ring, following Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Former Florida Gov. Bush, the son and brother of two presidents, is expected to officially announce his candidacy in the coming weeks.
If successful in his bid for the White House, Rubio could make history as the nation's first Hispanic president. The son of a maid and bartender who now sits in Congress, he will be hoping to transcend the Republican Party's reputation for difficulty in connecting with young, Hispanic or African-American voters.
In the call with his backers, Rubio lamented that many US families were struggling to cope, and that young Americans faced unequal opportunities when it came to achieving success.
"I feel uniquely qualified to not just make that argument, but to outline the policies that we need to have in order to achieve it," he said.
The young Florida senator angered conservatives in 2013 when he worked with Senate Democrats to craft a historic immigration reform bill that would have provided pathways to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers. He subsequently backed away from the plan, and now says border security must be improved first. He was also a critic of Obama's executive actions on immigration.
nm/rc (Reuters, AP, AFP)