Republican Debate 2016: Marco Rubio Down In Polls, But CNN Presidential Event Could Be His Moment

When Marco Rubio announced his U.S. Senate campaign in 2009, nobody gave him much of a chance at winning the primary race against Charlie Crist, the Republican governor of Florida and one of the most popular politicians in the state. But less than a year later, he took his party’s nomination from Crist in an major upset that launched him onto the national stage and made him a GOP darling.

Rubio will find himself in a familiar place Wednesday when he stands alongside his 10 competitors during the second Republican presidential debate. He's in fifth place in an average of national polls and down 24 points in the crowded field that includes a reality TV star who seems capable of captivating voter attention in a way that no one else can and a man whose last name has been associated with the White House since 1988. But while Rubio's odds seem long for 2016, trailing in the polls has helped keep him out of Donald Trump's cross hairs, allowed him to quietly raise money and introduce his ideas to voters without too much media scrutiny, meaning Rubio could once again be poised to turn his underdog status into a victory.

"He has that potential. Instead of worrying about everyone else he needs to make sure that he finds the windows where he can excel and shine," said Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist in Washington, D.C. who worked for the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket in 2008 but is unaffiliated with any of the 2016 presidential campaigns. "The big thing for him is that he needs to overcome this perception that he's young and not ready to be commander in chief."

Read more from Clark Mindock at International Business Times

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