Posts Tagged Chris Christie

Senator Jeff Sessions Endorses Donald Trump

Jeff sessions TrumpRepublican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump picked up the backing of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions on Sunday, another big endorsement ahead of Super Tuesday’s crucial slate of GOP primaries.

Sessions, a conservative heavyweight known for his hardline immigration views, backed Trump at a packed rally in a local football stadium here, praising his stance on immigration and trade and calling his campaign a “movement… that must not fade away.”

“The American people are not happy with their government,” Sessions said. “We have an opportunity Tuesday. It may be the last opportunity we have for the people’s voice to be heard.”

The Alabama senator, who has never endorsed a candidate in a Republican presidential primary, repeatedly praised Trump’s position on immigration, which includes his proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deport illegal immigrants. “You have asked for 30 years, and politicians have promised for 30 years, to fix illegal immigration,” Sessions said. “Donald Trump will do it.”

Sessions is the first sitting U.S. senator to formally endorse Trump, and his decision to back the real estate mogul and former reality-show star is a major blow to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of Sessions’ closest allies in Washington, who had lobbied for his support.

Still Sessions hinted that he didn’t entirely agree with all of Trump’s views. “You know, nobody is perfect. We can’t have everything,” he told the crowd here. But, he added, “I think at this time, in my opinion, my best judgment, at this time in America’s history, we need to make America great again.”

His endorsement came just days after Trump won the backing of his former rival, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“I am becoming mainstream! All these people are endorsing me!” Trump gleefully declared after the Alabama senator announced his support. “But Sessions… that’s a biggie.”

The endorsements came as Trump heads into Super Tuesday with what seems to be unstoppable momentum. According to polls, the businessman leads in all 10 states voting on Tuesday — except for Texas, where he narrowly trails Cruz. The Trump camp is so confident heading into Super Tuesday that the candidate is spending most of that day campaigning in states such as Ohio and Florida, home turf of his rivals John Kasich and Marco Rubio, where Republicans will vote later this month.

Still, much of the Trump rally here was dedicated to trashing Rubio, who has spent the last three days furiously attacking the GOP frontrunner in a bid to consolidate the anti-Trump wing of the party. Before the candidate took the stage, he was preceded by a string of speakers, attacking Rubio as soft on immigration and protecting American workers. At the podium, Trump spent more than half his speech trashing the Florida senator, whom he referred to again and again as “Little Marco.”

“He’s not cool. He sweats too much. And I don’t want him negotiating for us,” Trump said. “We don’t need a guy who is sweaty and scared.”

 

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Trump Crushes GOP Field – Sanders Delivers Massive Blow to Clinton in New Hampshire Primary

Trump & SandersFlamboyant businessman Donald Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points in New Hampshire’s Republican primary on Tuesday night, solidifying his status as the overwhelming favourite for the party nomination. Left-wing Vermont Sen. Trounced Hillary Clinton by about 20 points in a Democratic primary in which he had once trailed her by 40, establishing himself as legitimate contender.

The triumph of the insurgent outsiders was forecast by recent polls but unimaginable just a year ago. It represents a momentous affirmation of American anger at the political establishment and the state of the country.

“As a country we don’t win on trade, we don’t win with the military, we can’t beat ISIS. We don’t win with anything,” Trump said in a victory speech in which he called terrorists “animals” and suggested the real unemployment rate was 42 per cent. “We are going to start winning again, and we’re going to win so much, you are going to be so happy.”

“Together,” Sanders said in his speech, “we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California. And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people, and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their Super PACs.”

Trump’s loss to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses last week raised questions about the devotion of his supporters and the preparedness of his campaign team. New Hampshire provided a resounding answer: he is for real, and he will be hard to beat. He holds big leads in the upcoming primaries in South Carolina and Nevada.

And his opposition is deeply divided. What happened in the race for second place is almost as helpful to Trump as his victory and almost as troubling to the Republican establishment hoping in vain for someone to take him down.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, widely viewed as the most electable Republican, had hoped to use a strong runner-up showing to position himself as the undisputed alternative to the polarizing Trump and Cruz. Instead, he finished a disastrous fifth, not only behind second-place Ohio Gov. John Kasich and likely behind former Florida governor Jeb Bush, two men he wanted to force out of the race, but also behind Cruz, whose religion-infused rhetoric appeared to be a poor fit for New Hampshire.

Sanders now confronts the challenge that could sink his campaign: earning support from people of colour, who favour Clinton by large margins. The states voting in the coming weeks are far more diverse than lily-white New Hampshire and Iowa, where Sanders battled last week to a near-tie.

Whatever happens next, New Hampshire proved that his message is far from the fringes. Sanders, a gruff 74-year-old facing a former secretary of state backed by almost the entire Democratic leadership, won a wide victory railing about the “rigged economy,” promising Canada-style health care, and calling for a “political revolution.”

“I’m just sick of the whole system. The whole thing is broken. The elections are fixed, and the American public is starting to catch on,” said Rick MacMillan, 60, an independent who voted for Sanders in the small town of Hopkinton.

Trump made a few concessions to normal political behaviour in response to his Iowa loss, scrambling to build a get-out-the-vote operation after months of neglect. But he did not change his unorthodox style or an inflammatory race-baiting platform that includes a ban on Muslims entering the country, a giant wall on the Mexican border, and the authorized torture of terrorists.

“This country don’t need another lawyer,” said retired police officer Bob Arsenault, 64, after he voted for Trump in Hopkinton. “He tells you how he feels. I’m a good ol’ Frenchman. I’ll tell you how I feel.”

Kasich, running as a cheery compassionate conservative, proved that there is still a substantial Republican constituency for civility and governing experience. But he will be hard-pressed to repeat his success elsewhere. While he held some 100 town hall meetings in New Hampshire, he invested only barely in other states.

Bush’s Super PAC has spent tens of millions of dollars supporting his candidacy, so third or fourth place is not especially impressive. If he had finished fifth or worse, though, he would have faced pressure to quit. He can now soldier on to South Carolina, whose most prominent legislator, Lindsey Graham, has already endorsed him.

The three candidates who fared worse than Rubio, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might all drop out. If this was indeed Christie’s last stand, it was consequential. His Saturday debate attack on Rubio as a speech-memorizing lightweight sent Rubio into a panicked recitation of a memorized speech, a comical gaffe that appeared to cripple him in the final days of the race.

New Hampshire, a state of 1.3 million, has always been a unique political environment, largely moderate but with a rebellious streak. More than 40 per cent of voters identify as independent, and they often decide at the final moment which party’s primary to join. On Tuesday, it was not hard to find voters choosing between Sanders and Trump.

 

 

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Rubio Fumbles, Governors Shine, Trump Untouched

ABC NewsThere have been no higher stakes on a Republican debate stage in the 2016 campaign for president than there were Saturday night.

Seven GOP Republican hopefuls faced off just three days before a make-or-break New Hampshire primary that some of them are not likely to survive.

Coming off a strong Iowa finish, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tripped up early under attack from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who are jockeying for the same Republican voters.

At the same time, the candidates on the still-crowded stage seemed unwilling to mix it up with Donald Trump, the national front-runner for months who needs a win in New Hampshire on Tuesday to avoid starting the 2016 race with two consecutive losses.

And then there was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the champion college debater who shared a deeply personal moment during an otherwise forgettable night while trying to build on his victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Rubio experienced his worst moment in a presidential debate at the worst time, stumbling badly when forced to answer the fundamental question posed by rivals of his candidacy: whether he has the experience necessary to lead the nation.

As a first-term senator with no executive experience, Rubio’s resume is remarkably similar to Barack Obama before he became president. Rubio tried to turn the question around by charging that Obama “knows exactly what he’s doing” by “undertaking a systematic effort to change this country.”

The answer was quickly challenged by Christie: “I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States.”

A clearly rattled Rubio responded by delivering the same line about Obama not once, but twice. And Christie made sure New Hampshire voters knew it: “There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

It was a cringe-worthy moment for Rubio three days before a New Hampshire contest in which he hopes to knock Christie, Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich from the race. Even if it doesn’t significantly change the contest in New Hampshire, the moment raises questions about Rubio’s readiness to take on Democrat Hillary Clinton in a general election debate.

He is barely registering in recent preference polls, but the New Jersey governor was the toughest candidate on the debate stage Saturday night. And that’s no small feat with the tough-talking Trump at center stage.

At seemingly every turn, Christie zeroed in on Rubio, pelting him with zingers about his inexperience and record in Washington. Calling out Rubio on his missed votes in the Senate, Christie charged, “That’s not leadership. That’s truancy.”

And when Rubio didn’t answer a moderator’s question about why he backpedaled on an immigration proposal he’d helped write when it appeared to become politically unpopular, Christie called him out.

“The question was, did he fight for his legislation. It’s abundantly clear that it he didn’t.” Then he twisted the knife: “That’s not what leadership is. That’s what Congress is.”

It was a performance Christie badly needed as he teeters on the edge of irrelevancy in the crowded Republican contest. Is it too little too late to rescue his campaign?

Trump’s rivals barely laid a glove on the frequent New Hampshire poll leader.

The decision to withhold fire was evident right from the start, when Cruz declined to repeat his assertion this week that Trump didn’t have the temperament to be commander in chief. Cruz dodged, saying everyone on the stage would be better leader of the U.S. military than Obama and Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Pressed by a moderator whether he stood by his words that Trump was too volatile to be president, Cruz said simply, “I think that is an assessment the voters are going to make.” Trump noted that Cruz refused to answer the question.

Bush was the only one who took it directly to Trump. After the billionaire real-estate developer defended the use of eminent domain as a necessary tool of government, Bush said the businessman was “downright wrong” when his company tried to use eminent domain to build an Atlantic City casino.

Trump scoffed, saying Bush “wants to be a tough guy.”

Bush fired back, “How tough is it to take property from an elderly woman?”

It was the only moment in which Trump flashed any of the rhetorical jabs he’s become known for on Twitter. For the most part, Trump was content to lay back and let those chasing him in the preference polls fight amongst themselves.

The champion college debater wasn’t much of a factor after a rough start to the debate, when he was asked about Trump’s temperament and allegations his campaign team engaged in “deceitful behavior” by suggesting in the moments before the Iowa caucuses started that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was leaving the race.

“When this transpired, I apologized to him then and I do so now,” Cruz said. “Ben, I’m sorry.”

Cruz returned to prominence when asked about substance abuse, and gave an answer that will be hard for some voters to forget.

The Texas senator shared the deeply personal story of his sister’s overdose death. He told New Hampshire voters, and a national television audience, that he and his father pulled his older sister out of a crack house. They pleaded with her to straighten out for the good of her son. But she didn’t listen.

“She died,” Cruz said.

It was a very human moment for a candidate sometimes criticized for not being likable.

And it was in line with his tone all night long, as he consistently rose above the mud-slinging, despite his near-daily attacks on his rivals on the campaign trail.

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High-Stakes At Play for Presidential Candidates in Iowa

Iowa CaucusesIn a high-stakes test of enthusiasm versus organization, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders hope to ride voter energy into victories in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, as Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton bank on sophisticated get-out-the vote operations months in the making.

The caucuses kick off the 2016 presidential nominating contests, marking a new phase in a tumultuous election that has exposed Americans’ deep frustration with Washington and given rise to candidates few expected to challenge for their party’s nomination when they first entered the race.

After months of campaigning and more than $200 million spent on advertising, the race for supremacy in Iowa is close in both parties. Among Republicans, Trump appears to hold a slim edge over Cruz, a fiery senator from Texas. Clinton and Sanders entered Monday in a surprisingly tight Democratic race, reviving memories of the former secretary of state’s disappointing showing in Iowa eight years ago.

“Stick with me,” Clinton said as she rallied supporters Sunday in Council Bluffs. “Stick with a plan. Stick with experience.”

Sanders, the Vermont senator who has been generating big, youthful crowds across the state, urged voters to help him “make history” with a win in Iowa.

In a show of financial strength, Sanders’ campaign announced Sunday it had raised $20 million in January alone. While Sanders has a large team in Iowa, his operation got off to a later start, particularly compared with Clinton, who has had staff on the ground in the state for nearly a year.

Monday’s contest will also offer the first hard evidence of whether Trump can turn the legion of fans drawn to his plainspoken populism into voters. The scope of the billionaire’s organization in Iowa is a mystery, though Trump himself has intensified his campaign schedule during the final sprint, including a pair of rallies Monday.

Cruz has modeled his campaign after past Iowa winners, visiting all of the state’s 99 counties and courting influential evangelical and conservative leaders. With the state seemingly tailor-made for his brand of uncompromising conservatism, a loss to Trump will likely be viewed as a failure to meet expectations.

Seeking to tamp down expectations, Cruz said Sunday that he’s just pleased to be in the mix for first place.

“If you had told me a year ago that two days out from the Iowa caucuses we would be neck and neck, effectively tied for first place in the state of Iowa, I would have been thrilled,” Cruz said.

Cruz has spent the closing days of the Iowa campaign focused intensely on Marco Rubio, trying to ensure the Florida senator doesn’t inch into second place. Rubio is viewed by many Republicans as a more mainstream alternative to Trump and Cruz, though he’ll need to stay competitive in Iowa in order to maintain his viability.

The campaigns were anxiously keeping an eye on the weather. A snowfall forecast to start Monday night appeared more likely to hinder the hopefuls in their rush out of Iowa than the voters. Republican John Kasich already had decamped to New Hampshire, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush following behind Monday afternoon, hours before the caucuses start.

The trio of governors has had a light footprint in Iowa, banking instead on strong showings in New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary to jumpstart their White House bids. Yet some Republican leaders worry that if Trump or Cruz pull off a big victory in Iowa, it would be difficult to slow their momentum.

Bush, for example, started the year as a fundraising juggernaut. But according to records released Sunday, both his super PAC and campaign fundraising declined significantly in the later months of 2015 as he struggled to keep up with Trump.

Unlike in primaries, where voters can cast their ballots throughout the day, the caucuses begin across Iowa at 7 p.m. CST. Democrats will gather at 1,100 locations and Republicans at nearly 900 spots.

Turnout was expected to be high. The Iowa Republican Party expected GOP turnout to top the previous record of 120,000 people in 2012. Democrats also expect a strong turnout, though not nearly as large as the record-setting 240,000 people who caucused in the 2008 contest between Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

Iowa has decidedly mixed results in picking the parties’ eventual nominees. The past two Republican caucus winners, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, faded as the race stretched on. But Obama’s unexpected 2008 victory was instrumental in his path to the nomination, easing the anxieties of those who worried the young black senator would struggle to win white voters.

While both parties caucus on the same night, they do so with different rules.

Republicans vote by private ballot. The state’s 30 Republican delegates are awarded proportionally based on the stateside vote.

Democrats take a more interactive approach, with voters forming groups and publicly declaring their support for a candidate. If the number of people in any group is fewer than 15 percent of the total, they can either choose not to participate or can join another viable candidate’s group.

Those numbers are awarded proportionately, based on statewide and congressional district voting, as Iowa Democrats determine their 44 delegates to the national convention.

 

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Trump & Cruz Clash At GOP Debate But Trump Prevails the Winner

FBN debateRepublican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and top challenger Ted Cruz ended a longstanding truce in spectacular fashion on Thursday night with bitter exchanges during what may have been Trump’s strongest debate performance to date.

The New York billionaire and the Texas senator appeared to have a split decision by the end of the night, a sign that for all the bluster, little took place that could derail Trump from his lead position with a contest in Iowa on Feb. 1 to begin the search for a Republican presidential nominee.

Projections that the debate would be a free-for-all were accurate. Beyond the Trump-Cruz theatrics, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida turned in a pugnacious performance with attacks on Cruz and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Florida Governor Jeb Bush presented himself as a voice of reason against Trump.

A Google snap poll showed viewers believed Trump, who in the most recent debates was at times less engaged, won the night with 37.3 percent to Cruz’s 26.6 percent and Rubio’s 12.1 percent.

Until the Fox Business Network debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, Trump and Cruz had been friendly because they have both been chasing conservatives of the Tea Party movement and did not want to anger them.

With Trump now needing to fend off Cruz’s rise in Iowa, he pushed his charge that Cruz may not be constitutionally qualified to serve as president because he was born in Canada. The U.S. Constitution says only “natural born” citizens can become president of the United States.

“Who the hell knows if you can even serve in office?” Trump told Cruz, drawing a scattering of boos in the audience.

Born in Calgary, Alberta, to a U.S. citizen mother and a Cuban father, Cruz accused Trump of bringing up his birthplace simply because Cruz was leading some polls in Iowa.

Cruz said Trump, who led the movement questioning whether the Hawaiian-born President Barack Obama was really from the United States, had asked his lawyers to look into the issue of Cruz’s birth in September and concluded there were no issues.

“Since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed, but the poll numbers have,” Cruz said. “And I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are dropping in Iowa, but the facts and the law here are really clear.”

Trump said Democrats would sue if Cruz were on the Republican ticket, putting their party’s chances of winning at risk

Cruz shot back that he had spent many years studying constitutional law: “I’m not going to be taking legal advice from Donald Trump.”

The birthright issue has dogged American politics before: 2008 Republican nominee John McCain survived questions about his birth in Panama because he was born on a U.S. military installation there and it was judged to be U.S. soil.

In 1967, Republican candidate George Romney faced questions about his birth in Mexico, but his candidacy never advanced far and the issue was abandoned.

While Cruz seemed to have parried the attack for now, he was stung by Trump on another issue: Whether people who live in New York City have the same values as other Americans. Cruz has lately begun denouncing “New York values” to connect Trump to the city’s famous liberalism.

“Everyone understands that the values of New York City are socially liberal, are pro-abortion, are pro-gay marriage,” Cruz said.

Trump, in perhaps his most heartfelt remarks of the night, harked back to New York’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to defend his home city.

“The people in New York fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death, and even the smell of death… And it was with us for months, the smell, the air.

“And we rebuilt Downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made,” Trump said.

Rubio, in third place behind Trump and Cruz in Iowa and hoping a strong outcome there will help him in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9, frequently inserted himself into arguments and tried to put pressure on Cruz.

He accused Cruz of proposing a value added tax as part of his tax plan and of being soft on immigration.

“That is not consistent conservatism,” he said. “That is political calculation.”

He attacked Christie as well, accusing him of have liberal positions on education policy and abortion. Christie interrupted a Rubio-Cruz exchange with this blast:

“I’d like to interrupt this debate on the floor of the Senate. You had your chance, Marco you blew it,” he said.

Cruz, who has taken the lead in some polls of Iowa Republican voters, did well on social media. Social media monitoring tool Zoomph saw total positive mentions for Cruz climb by more than 150 percent while he sparred with Trump.

A Reuters/Ipsos rolling national poll on Jan. 12 showed Trump had 39 percent of the vote, Cruz 14.5 percent, Bush 10.6 percent, Carson 9.6 percent, while 6.7 percent favored Rubio.

 

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Trump Tops Cruz in Latest Iowa Quinnipiac Poll

Trump and CruzDonald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are locking in their lead among Iowa likely Republican Caucus participants, with Trump at 31 percent and Cruz at 29 percent, while U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida trails with 15 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.

Dr. Ben Carson has 7 percent, with no other candidate above New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie’s 4 percent.

This compares to the results of a December 14 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University showing Trump at 28 percent, with 27 percent for Cruz, 14 percent for Rubio and 10 percent for Carson.

Today, 5 percent are undecided, but 46 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind.

Voters view Cruz more favorably than they view Trump, however, and more are open to the possibility of voting for him, according to the new findings.

This is only the third poll of the last 11 in Iowa in which Trump is on top, according to an aggregation by RealClearPolitics. Other recent polls have shown Cruz in first place.

Trump in the last week has stepped up attacks on Cruz’s birthplace. Cruz was born in Canada, and Trump argues Democrats could make the case he is not qualified to be president because he is not a natural-born citizen.

Cruz was born to a U.S. mother, and his campaign has argued he would be qualified to be president just like 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who was born in the Panama Canal zone.

The biggest loser today is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who gets only 3 percent support from Republicans, while 26 percent say they “would definitely not support” him.

The economy and jobs is the most important issue for 27 percent of Iowa likely Republican Caucus participants in deciding their vote, as 18 percent list terrorism; 16 percent say foreign policy. Another 10 percent cite the federal deficit and 8 percent list immigration.

This reverses the results of the December 14 survey, in which 30 percent listed terrorism as the most important issue, with 21 percent focused on the economy and jobs.

Trump can best handle the economy, 46 percent of Republicans say, with 16 percent picking Cruz and 8 percent picking Rubio. Trump is also best handling terrorism, 36 percent of GOP Caucus participants say, with 26 percent for Cruz and 12 percent for Rubio.

Cruz is best on foreign policy, 27 percent of Republicans say, with 24 percent for Trump and 18 percent for Rubio.  Trump is best on illegal immigration, 46 percent of GOP Caucus-goers say, with 22 percent for Cruz and 15 percent for Rubio.

Cruz has a 75 – 17 percent favorability rating, with Trump at 61 – 34 percent.

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Team Rubio Look to Increase Size and Scale of Operation

Marco  RubioFor months, Marco Rubio’s campaign team in South Carolina operated out of a staffer’s garage, plotting strategy for the first-in-the-South primary from freshly painted yard sale furniture and tiny classroom desks.

The shoestring budget setup was a point of pride for the Republican presidential candidate’s team. Now, with Rubio enjoying a burst of momentum as the early voting contests edge closer, the Florida senator’s campaign is moving beyond its lean and mean roots.

Rubio’s South Carolina team officially moved out of the garage and into a proper campaign headquarter, though they brought some of the yard sale furniture along with them.

“This election could very well be decided in this state,” Rubio told the crowd gathered at the office in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital.

Rubio’s team also opened offices in Nevada a few weeks ago. His staff grew by about 30 percent in October, with more than 70 people now on the campaign payroll. The new hires include communications and digital advisers, as well as field workers to boost voter contact and advance staff to help set up larger and more frequent events in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the first four states to vote in the nomination contest.

Whether Rubio can effectively build up his campaign infrastructure in those states may determine whether he can turn his natural political talents and easy appeal with GOP voters into primary victories.

While Rubio’s advisers say they’re simply executing the next phase in a carefully crafted campaign blueprint, there’s no doubt the team’s early penny-pinching was driven in part by necessity. The senator’s fundraising has been underwhelming and his money totals trailed several rivals through summer and fall, including a lackluster $6 million haul in third financial reporting period of the year.

But buoyed by strong performances in the last two GOP debates, Rubio has been attracting more high-dollar donors, including billionaire investor Paul Singer and New York hedge fund manager Cliff Asness.

With more cash in the pipeline, Rubio is expected to spend more money on travel to early voting states and on larger events aimed at putting him in front of as many voters as possible. Rubio communications director Alex Conant pointed to a 450-person event in New Hampshire last week and a similar sized event in Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday as examples of the type of settings the candidate will appear at more regularly.

Rubio’s more robust travel plans are welcome news to some Republicans in early voting states who have griped for months that the senator wasn’t spending enough time on the ground meeting with donors and wooing important backers. While some candidates have all but taken up residency in Iowa and New Hampshire, Rubio has been a more sporadic presence.

“He’s recognizing that in order to win in New Hampshire, you need to be available to voters, not just once or twice but more often than that,” said Donna Sytek, a prominent New Hampshire Republican. She called Rubio an “attractive candidate” but said she’s also still considering Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina.

Rubio’s backers believe the campaign’s fiscal caution has already been validated by the early money woes of other candidates. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quickly built a large and expensive operation, but was forced to withdraw from the race after just two months when his fundraising stopped covering his bills. And despite raising more than $100 million for his super PAC, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush slashed payroll spending by 40 percent after campaign fundraising slowed.

To be sure, the Rubio team’s tales of cheapness have helped the campaign define the Florida senator as a scrappy underdog taking on wealthier rivals. Campaign manager Terry Sullivan has bragged about sticking Rubio on budget airline Frontier, which he called “a special kind of hell,” and touted his rule of personally approving expenses over $500.

At one of the campaign’s Nevada offices, staffers tried to do their part to live up to the less is more mantra. After noticing a pizza place next to a campaign office had free wireless internet that required a password, a staffer walked over and bought two pieces of pizza and asked for the internet access code.

But the cost-cutting measure was short-lived. After about three weeks, the pizza place caught on and asked the Rubio team to stop.

 

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