Marco Rubio’s campaign got a boost Saturday as the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s most influential newspaper, endorsed the senator from Florida for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Marco Rubio has the potential to chart a new direction for the party, and perhaps the nation, with his message of restoring the American dream. We endorse him because he represents his party’s best hope,” the paper said.
The Register endorsed Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state battling Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., for the Democratic nomination. The paper called her an “outstanding” candidate.
“No other candidate can match the depth or breadth of her knowledge and experience,” the Register said.
Rubio will probably be helped more from the endorsement. “Republicans should have learned from 2012 that they cannot win with Republicans alone. Recent polling shows Rubio has higher favorability ratings among independents than all candidates but Ben Carson, as well as positive ratings among Latinos,” the Register said.
Polling, though, has also shown Rubio far behind Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and real estate mogul Donald Trump in the battle for votes in the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus, the nation’s first. They tend to be competing for the same conservative, fed-up audience. Rubio’s appeal tends to be among more establishment Republicans.
“We believe Rubio can inspire the base with his ideas on improving the economy, education system and social programs,” the Register said.
It said that in two meeting with the editorial board, “the whip-smart senator displayed an impressive grasp of public policy detail, reeling off four-point plans on foreign policy and other issues. He proposes overhauling higher education and promoting vocational training, helping workers threatened by automation acquire skills rewarded by a new economy.
“Rubio would prime that new economy by embracing innovation. He would auction off portions of the wireless spectrum controlled by government, allowing freer flow of online traffic. He’d remove barriers to enable the next Uber to take off. He’d require a cost-benefit analysis of federal regulation.”
The Register endorsed Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, for the 2012 GOP nomination. Romney lost by a handful of votes to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.