Marco Rubio announces staff changes sure to fuel 2016 talk

The chief of staff for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is stepping down post to become an adviser to Rubio’s political-action committee, part of a series of staff changes announced Friday that will add to speculation about the freshman senator’s plans for 2016.

The departure of Cesar Conda, a longtime GOP insider who once worked for Vice President Dick Cheney, is the latest sign that Rubio is staffing up his political shop ahead of the 2016 presidential race. Rubio in recent weeks has openly discussed his political future, saying he will wait until next year to decide whether to run for president or for reelection in 2016. Florida law bars candidates from running in more than one race — but the moves announced Friday add to speculation that Rubio is leaning towards running for the White House.

Rubio said in a release Friday that Conda, who has served as his chief of staff since 2011, will lead Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC as a senior adviser. Conda will remain as a part-time adviser in Rubio’s Senate office.