Koch event drawing 2016 hopefuls Rubio, Paul, Cruz, Walker

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2016 Koch event -- Rubio, Paul, Cruz, Walker
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Koch event drawing 2016 hopefuls Rubio, Paul, Cruz, Walker
Senator Marco Rubio waits for the start of the State of The Union address by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014 file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, prepares his statement before a news conference where he expressed his disappointment in President Barack Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Among potential Republican presidential candidates, Rubio led the attack on Obama's plans Wednesday to ease of economic and travel restrictions on Cuba, to open an embassy in Havana and review the communist nation’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, expresses his disappointment in President Barack Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the US and Cuba, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2014 file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. More than a dozen potential Republican candidates are contemplating White House bids in 2016 in what’s shaping up as a crowded and diverse field. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, expresses his disappointment in President Barack Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, expresses his disappointment in President Barack Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., casts his vote in Miami, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Monday is the first day of early voting in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott said early voting would be crucial to winning. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during the fourth annual "Faith and Freedom BBQ" hosted by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan in Anderson, S.C., Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., listens to a speaker during the fourth annual "Faith and Freedom BBQ" hosted by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan in Anderson, S.C., Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., right, joined at left by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., questions Secretary of State John Kerry as he appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to shore up President Barack Obama's strategy to combat Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, greets a supporter before speaking at the fourth annual "Faith and Freedom BBQ" hosted by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan in Anderson, S.C., Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla. waves while leaving after speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Some of the Republican Party's most ambitious leaders are courting religious conservatives as evangelical Christians claim new momentum in their fight for the GOP's soul. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 18: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to the media as he is joined by other congressional people as they address the decision by President Barack Obama to change the United States Cuba policy on December 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Mr. Rubio was joined by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) as they held the press conference to denounce the changes to U.S.-Cuba policy by the Obama administration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., visits the Peppermill restaurant Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is a possible Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with the media at the Peppermill restaurant Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is a possible Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., left, speaks with Sam Walters at the Peppermill restaurant Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is a possible Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with a table of people at the Peppermill restaurant Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is a possible Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., center speaks with people including Juan Martinez, left, at the Peppermill restaurant Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is a possible Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/John Locher)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with people at the Peppermill restaurant Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is a possible Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/John Locher)
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2015 file photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.speaks with people at a restaurant in Las Vegas. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio seems to be moving toward a bid for the Republicans' presidential nomination, and late Sunday he joins Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky for an audience with the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is introduced to members of the Londonderry Fish and Game Club, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Litchfield, N.H. Paul is a possible Republican presidential candidate. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks at the Heritage Foundation’s Conservative Policy Summit in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 214 file photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks in Highland Heights, Ky. The presidential contest that's starting to take shape is exposing divisions among likely Republican candidates on the nation's role in global affairs. Among those outlining foreign policy this week: Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal, as well as the party's 2008 presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2015 file photo, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks at the Heritage Foundation’s Conservative Policy Summit in Washington. Campaigns for president in 2016 haven’t officially started. But Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is among several Republicans testing the political waters, and he’s making a stop in Nevada with the state’s first-in-the-West Republican caucus is a little more than a year away. Aides say Paul’s campaign-style stops Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 at a Las Vegas Strip restaurant and Saturday in downtown Reno will focus on meeting local pastors, business leaders and political activists. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, waves as he walks off stage after speaking at the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, left, R-Texas, visits with guests during an oath of office ceremony for Ken Paxton, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Paxton was sworn in as Texas Attorney General. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, attends an oath of office ceremony for Ken Paxton, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Paxton was sworn in as Texas attorney general. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) talks with reporters after the Senate voted on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through the next fiscal year on on Saturday, December 13, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) talks with reporters after the Senate voted on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through the next fiscal year on on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2014 file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Unhappy Republicans say Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas left a gift certificate good for confirmation of 12 judicial appointments for President Barack Obama and Democrats this holiday season. Only a month or so ago, voters delivered them a lump of coal in mid-term elections. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 24: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The summit is hosting a group of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates to discuss core conservative principles ahead of the January 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, right, is greeted by Representative Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, center, before Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Obama declared the U.S. economy healed and said the nation now must begin work to close the gap between the well-off and the wanting. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - JANUARY 18: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) greets supporters at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition convention on January 18, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A variety of conservative presidential hopefuls spoke at the gathering on the second day of a three day event. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - JANUARY 18: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) receives a standing ovation during his speech to the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition convention on January 18, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A variety of conservative presidential hopefuls spoke at the gathering on the second day of a three day event. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2014 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks in West Allis, Wis. Walker's campaign spokesman Tom Evenson confirmed Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 that the second term Republican will be going to a weekend meeting of the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. The group serves as the central hub for the billionaire conservative brothers David and Charles Koch-backed network of advocacy organizations. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
Gov. Scott Walker reiterates that he wants the Legislature to be focused on his agenda, not right-to-work, in the opening months of the session on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gestures after speaking at the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - This Nov. 19, 2014 file photo, possible Republican presidential candidates Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, center, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, speak at the Republican Governors Association annual conference in Boca Raton, Fla. Top Wisconsin Democrats said Monday that Republican Gov. Scott Walker is distracted by his exploration of a presidential run and should be focused on solving the state’s $2.2 billion budget shortfall. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2015 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker acknowledges the crowd after being inaugurated for his second term, in Madison, Wis. A shake-out among fiery conservatives with White House ambitions was always a sure thing. It appears the competition among the more establishment-minded GOP candidates for president will end up just as fierce. (AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2014 file photo, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks in West Allis, Wis. More than a dozen potential Republican candidates are contemplating White House bids in 2016 in what’s shaping up as a crowded and diverse field. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, center, talks about recent Republican party gains and the road ahead for their party as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, left, and Texas Gov. Rick perry listen during a press conference at the Republican governors' conference in Boca Raton, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. The organization's annual conference began Wednesday in a luxury oceanside resort where the nation's Republican governors are celebrating their party's recent success in the midterm elections while privately jockeying for position as the 2016 presidential contest looms. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks at his campaign party, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in West Allis, Wis. Walker defeated Democratic gubernatorial challenger Mary Burke. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks at his campaign party Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in West Allis, Wis. Walker defeated Democratic gubernatorial challenger Mary Burke. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 24: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The summit is hosting a group of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates to discuss core conservative principles ahead of the January 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker prepare for a televised debate against Democratic challenger Mary Burke (not pictured) Friday, Oct. 17, 2014, at the WMVS-TV studio in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Benny Sieu)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is sending clear signs about an expected run for the presidency in 2016.

The first-term Republican lawmaker planned to join several other potential candidates at a gathering Sunday in Palm Springs, California, organized by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, who have a keen interest in the party's contenders.

More than 450 allies and donors to the Koch network were to attend, with the closing event a panel discussion with Rubio and fellow Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas on domestic policy.

The organizer, Freedom Partners, is the central hub for the political machine backed by wealthy industrialists Charles and David Koch. The traditionally private Koch group planned to let reporters watch an Internet broadcast of the event.

Over the past two days, Rubio met with his main group of 300 supporters on Miami's South Beach, and he intended to skip the Senate's schedule for the upcoming week for fundraisers on the West Coast, Texas and Illinois. Future visits are expected to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, states that play a critical early role in the nominating process.

At the same time, he is trying to keep longtime donors and establishment-minded supporters from shifting loyalties toward another Floridian, former Gov. Jeb Bush, or the party's 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who is also moving toward a third White House bid.

"Jeb Bush is going to be a very credible candidate. I think he's going to raise a lot of money," Rubio said this past week. "He's got an extraordinary network of donor around the country and I know he'll be a strong candidate if he runs."

Rubio, no slouch in fundraising, would be playing catch up to Bush and Romney. To help, Rubio has recruited Anna Rogers, the top fundraiser for American Crossroads, a conservative group backed by Karl Rove, George W. Bush's former strategist.

A campaign will be costly, and any Republican who wants the nomination must consider the preferences of the deep-pocketed Kochs.

Their sprawling network of organizations forms the backbone of the modern conservative movement. With names such as Americans for Prosperity, Generation Opportunity and the Libre Initiative, the brothers have the ability to help frame the terms of the political debate.

So it's not hard to understand why Rubio and others are happy to visit when the Kochs call.

Courting the Kochs - and donors - amounts to a public signal that Rubio is in the game, no matter that Bush, his early political mentor, may be, too.

Rubio, Paul and Cruz previously have met before with the Kochs and are aggressively seeking their blessing. Another 2016 potential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has met in New York with David Koch.

A Koch favorite, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, was booked for the conference, but his session was not scheduled to be available online.

Koch Brothers, Wealth Rising, Are Courted by 2016 Hopefuls


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