There is no denying that Mitt Romney has had a very good March, finally pulling away from the rest of the field. He’s also managed to pick up some endorsements from conservatives, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a Tea Party favorite, and Al Cardenas, president of the American Conservative Union.
But the biggest endorsement Romney has received came on Wednesday from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is a big name in today’s conservative movement and often thought of as possible presidential candidate in 2016:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican superstar expected to top the vice presidential shortlist, on Wednesday said Mitt Romney has “earned’’ the Republican nomination for president and called a potential floor fight at the convention a “recipe for disaster.’‘
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Rubio didn’t name Romney rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich but said it was clear to him they would not be able to win enough delegates to lock down the nomination before the Republican convention.
“I think we’re at a stage now where at least two of the candidates have openly admitted that the only way they’re going to be able to win the nomination is to have a floor fight in Tampa in August. I don’t think there’s anything good about that,’’ he said. He added, “It’s increasingly clear that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.’‘
Pressed by Hannity whether he was in fact offering his endorsement, Rubio said yes. But he offered something even better: The rising figure in the conservative and tea party movements vouched for Romney’s conservative credentials.
In case you haven’t heard (and we’re a little late on posting about this), the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is going on the road beginning in September 23rd in Orlando, Florida:
This is the first time in the 47-year history of the conference that a version of the convention it will be held outside of Washington, D.C. “CPAC FL” will be held in Orlando on September 23 the day after the Fox News’ GOP Presidential debate.
“It was about time that we take the conservative message on the road and go to the states,” said CPAC director, Chris Malagisi.
CPAC FL will not replace the high-profile conservative gathering that takes place in Washington, D.C. each year. Rather, it will serve as an additional resource for grassroots activists.
ACU Communications Director Kristy Campbell said the idea of a regional conference was a part of Chairman Al Cardenas vision for the organization when he was elected in February. Cardenas succeeded David Keene, who had been chairman of the ACU since 1984.
Campbell said the ACU selected Florida for the conference because it will be a key battleground state in 2012. Obama won the state in 2008 with 51 percent of the vote to Sen. John McCain’s 48 percent.
You can find the list of speakers, package rates and other information at the CPAC-FL website. A few of our contributors were at CPAC in Washington, DC this year. While there were a couple of tense moments due to the divide between conservatives and libertarians, I think we all had a good time and enjoyed drinking and chatting with each other.