Defying all odds and all the pundits, Marco Rubio, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and a conservative Republican from Miami-Dade county, refuses to abandon his quixotic race for Mel Martinez's abandoned senate seat against popular incumbent governor, Charlie Crist.
Crist, a shrewd politician who is always aware of which way the wind is blowing, unerringly following his sharply-honed instincts to skillfully harness Florida's often hurricane-force political winds, doesn't appear to be too worried by Rubio's tilt at the senatorial windmill, however.
But perhaps Crist should be. Since he entered politics, Rubio's rise through the Republican ranks has been swift. Born in Miami, May 28th, 1971, Rubio is the son of exiled Cuban parents. He received a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Florida in 1993, and a JD degree (Cum Laude) from the University of Miami Law School in 1996. He then was elected to the Florida House in 2000 as a representative from West Miami's 111th District in a special election, after first serving as a City Commissioner in that city.
Marco Rubio has been a rapidly rising star in the Florida Republican firmament ever since. He served as Majority Whip from 2000 to 2002, House Majority Leader from 2002 to 2004, and and was nominated to the House Speaker position in 2006, retaining that job until he was term limited out of office in 2008. During his tenure in the Florida House, Rubio introduced and championed a number of legislative initiatives, including model legislation for national adoption as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision regarding eminent domain and major improvements to public school curricula, as well as market incentive-based energy legislation.
Known as a strong conservative, Rubio announced his candidacy for the vacated Mel Martinez Senate seat on May 5, 2009, actually beating moderate Charlie Crist to the punch by a few days. Since then, Rubio has been working hard, tirelessly traveling the state seeking both votes and campaign funds. He is, of course, the underdog in the race, particularly as to campaign financing. According to Thomas McCall, writing on Examinerdotcom, "Crist has recently outraised Rubio approximately 12-1." In July, Crist took in a hefty $4.3 million in campaign donations, dwarfing Rubio's meager $340,000.