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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Potential '16 presidential hopeful Marco Rubio to return to NH

By John DiStaso, Senior Political Reporter
March 25. 2014 7:30AM

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26: BROWN FUNDRAISER. Likely U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown has scheduled a fundraiser in Washington on April 7.

Politico reported today that tickets for the event at the Dubliner will be $250 for individuals to attend and $1,000 for individuals to host and $1,000 for PACs to attend and $2,500 to host.

The Republican former Massachusetts senator set up an exploratory committee for a run in New Hampshire on March 14.

(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)

MONDAY, MARCH 24: RUBIO RETURNS. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, viewed as a potential 2016 presidential candidate and a key GOP player on Capitol Hill, has scheduled a May appearance in the Granite State.

A senior Republican strategist tells us Rubio has confirmed a May 9 appearance at the Rockingham County Republican Committee's annual "Freedom Founders" Dinner, to be held at the Wentworth-By-The-Sea hotel in New Castle.

Rubio last appeared in the state in October 2012, campaigning for then-candidate for governor Ovide Lamontagne.

Tuesday morning, the county committee confirmed the Rubio appearance. County Committee chair Regina Birdsell said in a statement:

"The Rockingham County Republican committee is excited to host Senator Marco Rubio's first appearance in New Hampshire since 2012 and we are honored to have him as our keynote speaker for one of our biggest events of the year. As Granite Staters, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to hear from so many influential elected officials from all corners of the country. As one of the leaders of our party, we look forward to welcoming Senator Rubio to the Granite State to hear about Senator Rubio's work in advancing our conservative values on Capitol Hill."

Rubio's visit will come less than a month after several other potential 2016 Republican candidates for President are slated to be in the state for a major event hosted by Americans for Prosperity and Citizens United. The "Freedom Summit" on April 12 will attract former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Donald Trump and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

(WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 UPDATE: We've learned today that the "Freedom Summit" will be live on CSPAN. An announcement is expected Thursday.)

The appearances by Rubio and the others makes it clear the early stages of the first-in-the-nation primary campaign are underway.

Also Tuesday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party has announced that Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will be the guest speaker at its Shaheen-McIntyre "100 Club" fundraiser on April 19 at the Executive Court in Manchester.

Shumlin is the current chair of the Democratic Governors Association; New Hampshire's Maggie Hassan is the vice chair.

State Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said Shumlin is a "national leader" and "a strong voice who will kick-off our 2014 campaign to re-elect Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, Congresswomen Shea-Porter and Kuster, and our entire ticket."

(See earlier Granite Status reports elsewhere on this page or by clicking on "Granite Status above.)

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