Favorite Son? Marco Rubio Poised To Challenge Dems In 2016

Whether or not his bipartisan immigration reform effort fails, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has primed himself for crossover appeal. In the face of a Republican Party that has been labeled as full of old, white, rich men, the young, charismatic politician whose parents emigrated from Cuba already presented a refreshing alternative. But now he can add "deal-maker" and "maverick" to his resume – something that will further confound Democrats in a potential 2016 match-up, experts say.

Rubio, long seen as a potential GOP presidential candidate, has spent serious political capital by crafting and attempting to sell to conservative media an immigration reform package that calls for ramped up border security, but also allows a path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.

"Basically it makes his quest for the nomination more difficult, but definitely makes him a much more attractive candidate," says Ford O'Connell, a Republican political strategist who worked on the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008. "Besides the security, the economics of it, the pathway to citizenship makes it clear that he understands the GOP is running out of white voters."

Read more from Rebekah Metzler at U.S. News & World Report

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Analysis & Political Strategy