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Rubio Looks to Texas for Campaign Cash

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who announced Monday he is running for president, is heading to Texas to raise money.

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*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Fresh off becoming the fourth major candidate to announce a run for president, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is heading to Texas next week to raise money for his new campaign. 

The Florida Republican will be in Houston on Monday and Dallas on Tuesday, according to one of his top backers in the state, Dallas-based investor George Seay. The Texas trip is expected to follow post-announcement fundraisers in Boston and New York.

"We really have three people from Texas running from president — [Ted] Cruz, [Rick] Perry and [Jeb] Bush," Seay said. “They all have lots of fans down here, and the fact that this is his third stop” speaks to the support Rubio is seeing in Texas.

"I think a lot of people have already signed on and will continue signing on," added Seay, who served as Texas finance chairman of Perry's 2012 presidential campaign. 

Rubio has already made connections with some of Texas' most prominent donors, thanks to his national profile. Annette Simmons, the widow of Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, gave $5,000 to Rubio's Senate campaign in December, according to federal records. Fort Worth socialite Kit Moncrief, a top donor to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid, showed up on the latest campaign finance report for Reclaim America, the leadership PAC that was laying the groundwork for Rubio's bid. 

It is not clear yet which bold-faced names have committed to Rubio's White House run, but one thing is clear: Rubio faces no shortage of competition for presidential donor dollars in Texas. Cruz, R-Texas, and Perry, the former governor, have been crisscrossing Texas courting some of the GOP's most generous givers, while potential candidates from elsewhere like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Bush, the former Florida governor, have been dropping in on the state for their own fundraising sprees.

Among those being courted by the White House hopefuls: Tucker Bridwell, an Abilene investment manager who helped organize a small lunch for Rubio last year in the West Texas city. Campaign finance records show Bridwell has donated tens of thousands of dollars to pro-Rubio groups, but Bridwell said Tuesday he is still mulling his options for 2016.

“I liked him a lot, but it’s too early for me,” Bridwell said. “I just haven’t decided yet.” 

A Rubio spokesman declined to comment Tuesday on the candidate's fundraising plans. 

Disclosure: The Harold Simmons Foundation is a major donor to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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Politics 2016 elections