Marco Rubio quietly setting the stage for a 2016 campaign

Rubio’s approach to 2016 has been crafted with one goal: To become the first choice of “many” GOP primary voters and the second choice of “even more.” His advisers envision assembling a solid base of support that prefers Rubio above all others, while attracting the admiration, or at least imprimatur of acceptability, of an even larger group that would gravitate to him if their first choice falls short.

“We have gone to great lengths over the past couple of years to avoid at all costs becoming the flavor of the month,” senior Rubio adviser Todd Harris told the Washington Examiner. “We thought that it was important to take the long view.”

Rubio’s strategic self-exile from the early nominating states ends in May, when he is scheduled to travel to New Hampshire to keynote an annual Rockingham County GOP Committee dinner. It will be his first visit to an early battleground in more than a year. In the current RealClearPolitics average of Iowa caucus polling, Rubio sits in 10th place with 4 percent. He polls similarly in the Granite State.