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What’s At Stake For Marco Rubio In Tonight’s Debate

Marco Rubio Rallies With Supporters Ahead Of Republican Presidential DebateMarco Rubio Rallies With Supporters Ahead Of Republican Presidential Debate
Marco Rubio Photograph by Daniel — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Presidential candidate Marco Rubio is sitting in third place in the latest Republican polls, behind Ben Carson and Donald Trump. But Rubio, a junior U.S. Senator from Florida, is first among candidates who have held elected office. And with Jeb Bush dropping in polls, some are speculating Rubio could become the new favorite of the GOP establishment. Though no one should count out Ben Carson or Donald Trump, some pundits are speculating that their support will drop off before the voting actually begins.

In tonight’s GOP debate, to be aired on the Fox Business Network, Rubio will need to fend off any questions about his relative youth and inexperience, especially from Jeb Bush. Voters, especially those turned off by Trump and Carson, will be looking to see whether he has the gravitas to lead and could be a viable alternative to Bush. Part of that is demonstrating he can bridge the gap between the GOP “establishment” and “Tea Party” Republican voters. To that end, Rubio may highlight his tax plan, which is more moderate than some of his rivals, and his support for comprehensive immigration reform, which has been seen as less extreme as the plan supported by Trump. Rubio wants to let the other candidates fight it out while he mostly stays above the fray. If so, he might just be on the road to setting himself up to be the only one left standing.