Washington: Florida Senator Marco Rubio told his top donors on Monday that he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
He shared the news with a small circle of supporters in a conference call hours before a rally Monday evening at Miami's Freedom Tower.
Rubio, 43, said he views the 2016 contest as moment to turn the page on the past and look toward the future.
"The Republican Party, for the first time in a long time, has a chance in this election to be the party of the future," he told people who have financed his previous campaigns, describing himself as the best candidate to present the GOP as a party that will broaden opportunity.
"I feel uniquely qualified to not just make that argument, but to outline the policies that we need to have in order to achieve it," Rubio said.
"Just yesterday, we heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday, but I feel that this country has always been about tomorrow," the Cuban-American lawmaker said, alluding to former Secretary of Stare Hillary Clinton's announcement on Sunday that she is running for the 2016 Democratic nomination.
Immigration rights groups plan to protest outside the Freedom Tower during the Rubio event, challenging the senator over his "contradictory positions" in the issue.
While Rubio was one of eight senators who shepherded a bipartisan immigration reform bill through the Senate, he later voted against funding the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, aimed at giving relief to undocumented migrants brought to the US as children, the Florida Immigrant Coalition said in a statement.
Rubio joins a Republican field that already includes two of his Senate colleagues, Ted Cruz of Texas and Kentucky's Rand Paul, and an announcement is expected soon from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son and younger brother, respectively, of presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.