Rubio Ally to Lead ‘Super PAC’ Backing His Candidacy

As Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and his advisers prepare for an all-but-certain presidential run, they will have a close ally managing the “super PAC” supporting his candidacy.

 

J. Warren Tompkins, a former business partner of Terry Sullivan, an adviser to Mr. Rubio, is expected to oversee the group, which will focus on raising tens of millions of dollars that will be used to buy advertising in support of the senator, according to two people with knowledge of the plan.

 

Mr. Tompkins and Mr. Sullivan founded a South Carolina firm, First Tuesday Strategies, nearly a decade ago. Both worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2008. Mr. Sullivan worked on Mr. Rubio’s Senate staff for a few years, but recently left to join his leadership PAC, a way station ahead of a campaign.

 

Mr. Rubio is expected to announce his campaign in April, which would make him one of the first candidates officially out of the gate.

 

A spokesman for Mr. Rubio declined to comment.

 

The question of who manages — and funds — the super PAC supporting a candidacy has taken on a new level of significance this presidential cycle.

 

Already, more than a half-dozen likely candidates on the Republican side, as well as the expected Democratic nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, are set to be backed by super PACs, which can sustain a candidacy for months. Even with prohibitions against coordination between such groups and official campaigns, the rules are porous enough that the groups can provide fuel well into the primary season.

 

In an email, Mr. Tompkins said that his role with Mr. Rubio had not yet been “determined or formalized,” but that he intended “to spend the next two years building support for Marco and his positive conservative vision for our country.”

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