Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is unveiling a group of prominent Minnesota supporters of his Republican campaign for president ahead of a Tuesday fundraiser in downtown Minneapolis.
The list of nearly two dozen supporters includes a number of familiar political names, including two former state House GOP leaders in Steve Sviggum of Kenyon and Marty Seifert of Marshall. Rubio's Minnesota campaign is being chaired by Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner and the Republican candidate for governor in 2014.
The group will help mobilize support for Rubio ahead of the Minnesota caucuses on March 1. Several leading Republican candidates have been organizing in Minnesota ahead of the caucuses, including Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
"The reason so many conservatives in Minnesota are talking about Marco Rubio is that he is the most exciting presidential candidate we have seen in many years," said Jen Niska, a Twin Cities GOP activist who has taken on the position of grassroots coordinator for Rubio in Minnesota.
Rubio is scheduled to be at a private presidential campaign fundraiser at the Minneapolis Club at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. The fundraiser's invitation lists three donation categories: $2,700 per person for "hosts," $1,000 per person for "sponsors" and $500 per person for "attendees."
Rubio has trailed in recent national and early-state polls to businessman Donald Trump and Cruz. But he has secured a spot, at least for now, as the favored candidate of the Republican establishment that appears to be concerned by Trump's highly unconventional campaign and Cruz's deep conservatism.
Rubio's "Minnesota Leadership Team" is short on current elected officials with the exception of Johnson. But it's long on young Republican activists both in the Twin Cities and sprinkled around the state.