A series of strong performances on the campaign trail and missteps by other candidates have helped improve Marco Rubio’s presidential prospects, and some top party operatives say the Florida senator is for now the favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination.
The struggles and eventual withdrawal of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker eliminated one of the Republicans who, like Rubio, had the potential to appeal to both the establishment and conservative wings of the party. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has not overcome reluctance from the GOP to elect a third president from the same family and instead has raised concerns that didn’t exist about him at the beginning of the year.
Despite his reputation for being smarter and more polished than George W. Bush, Jeb Bush has made a number of gaffes on the campaign trail, most recently when said he would not offer African-Americans “free stuff,” in reply to a question about his potential appeal to black voters. And even those hostile to Donald Trump say that the real estate mogul has accurately cast Bush’s campaign style as “low-energy.”