The PJ Tatler

Rubio Moves Decisively in the Wake of Walker Exit

Senator Marco Rubio hasn’t wasted any time in taking advantage of Governor Scott Walker’s exit from the campaign. He has already poached Walker’s New Hampshire state co-chair and has asked Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy to headline a fundraiser for him in Texas.

Amid reports that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is quitting the presidential race, WMUR.com has learned that his first supporter in New Hampshire has decided to back U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Cliff Hurst, a former state GOP vice chairman and Manchester Republican Committee chairman, will serve as a state co-chair for Rubio, along with state Sen. Regina Birdsell and attorney Gordon MacDonald.

“I have great admiration and respect for my friend Scott Walker,” Hurst said. “However, it is clear to me that his campaign is going in a different direction at this time. I believe the New Hampshire primary will be critically important to determining who our next president will be.“

Hurst made the comments shortly before the New York Times reported that Walker is dropping out of the race.

Rubio senior adviser Jim Merrill praised Hurst.

“It’s an honor to earn Cliff’s endorsement and for him to agree to serve as a co-chair of Marco’s campaign here in New Hampshire,” Merrill said.

“Cliff is not only one of our state’s most highly regarded grassroots leaders, but is also one of the most decent people I’ve known in my years in politics,” said Merrill. “His past experience as vice chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, as chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee and as a leader on countless state and local campaigns will be a great addition to Team Rubio in New Hampshire. We look forward to our work together in the weeks and months ahead.”

Gowdy, one of the most respected conservatives in the House, could do Rubio a lot of good down the road. He has yet to come out and endorse Rubio.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi — which has relentlessly examined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in the attack on a U.S. mission in Libya — will be the featured guest, according to Florida Politics.

Florida Politics also reported that the event, which will charge a minimum $2,000 per couple, will be hosted by real estate investor Harlan Crow and his wife Kathy at their palatial home in Highland Park, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Crow, an avid art collector, counts works by Renoir, Monet, and Adolf Hitler among his holdings.

Rubio has been moving aggressively to court Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s donors. The event comes a day after Walker’s decision to exit the race and after Rubio’s campaign poached Walker’s New Hampshire campaign co-chair, Cliff Hurst.

Rubio knows that this is his moment for a breakout and he is looking to exploit the Walker exit to its fullest. In addition to trying to attract Walker staff and supporters, grabbing a few of his mega-donors would be very helpful. Harlan Crow, the host of the fundraiser in Texas, is about as big a whale as they come and it would give the Rubio campaign a huge lift if he climbs aboard.

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