Paul Steinhauser: Marco Rubio back to NH on Feb. 23
CONCORD - Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida's New Hampshire bound.
The Republican from Florida, who's seriously weighing a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, will be in the Granite State on Feb. 23, as part of his nationwide tour for his new book "American Dreams," a source familiar with the senator's plans told NH1 early Monday morning.
Rubio will appear at a Barnes and Nobles store at 1741 South Willow Street in Manchester, across the street from the Mall of New Hampshire.
The book tour stop in the first-in-the-nation primary state is one of four Rubio is making to the states that kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar. Rubio will be in West Des Moines, Iowa on Feb. 13, Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 18 and Greenville, South Carolina on Feb. 23, according to the source.
Iowa holds the first caucus, followed by New Hampshire's primary. South Carolina and Nevada are the only other states allowed by the Republican National Committee to hold their contests prior to March 1, 2016.
Word of the early state visits come as Rubio's taking concrete steps towards launching a campaign. He recently hired a finance director for his political action committee. And last week Rubio missed Senate votes while he traveled the country on a fundraising swing. Rubio, who was elected to the Senate in 2010, must decide whether he'll make a bid for the GOP nomination in 2016, or if he'll run for re-election.
Rubio visited New Hampshire twice last year. He headlined a fundraiser for the state party last spring and in the autumn he teamed up with Republican Senate nominee Scott Brown at an event with veterans in Derry.
Mitt Romney's announcement Friday that he won't make a third bid for the White House could help Rubio in New Hampshire, if he does decide to run for the White House. Some GOP strategists contacted by NH1 said Rubio could have better access to Republican strategists, donors, and voters in the Granite State with Romney's exit.