MANCHESTER, N.H. -– Marco Rubio’s Super Bowl watch party Sunday in New Hampshire had a distinct Florida flavor.
Mingling with voters were volunteers who flew up from Rubio’s home state, on their own dime, to make phone calls and knock on doors ahead of Tuesday’s primary. You could spot the Floridians: They wore matching badges on lanyards that read, “Freezin’ for the Future.”
They were doing what Rubio himself did eight years ago, when he trekked to the Granite State to stump for Mike Huckabee.
“I took vacation days to come up. It was that important to me,” said Doug Kruse, a 47-year-old nonprofit fundraiser from Parkland.
Kruse lived for 13 years in New Hampshire, so he’s familiar with the state. Since arriving Friday he’s worked a Rubio phone bank, trying to persuade voters to support the candidate.
“People in New Hampshire, on the weekend before the primary, they know that they’re going to get 15-20 calls a day…so they don’t really answer the phone,” he said. But when they do, he tells them that Rubio has foreign-policy experience and the right “vision for America.”
Jason Steele came Thursday with his wife, Lori Harbert, and 16-year-old son, Jace Chastain, from Melbourne Beach.
“We wanted to come up to show the people of New Hampshire what the people of Florida think of Marco Rubio,” said Steele, who has been on the door-knocking trail. “I actually fell into the snow. I was covered in it. It was fun.”
Among the volunteers was former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (Rubio’s Florida campaign co-chairman), former Miami state Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Republican operative Christian Cámara, Tallahassee attorney Len Collins, former Rubio state legislative aide Rafael “Ralph” Perez and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo. Nelson Diaz, chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party attended an event earlier in the day, though not in an official party capacity.
Quipped Bovo: “It’s not like knocking on doors in Hialeah, that’s for sure.”
The party featured Little Caesars pizza, popcorn, cold cuts, veggies, black-bean-and-cheese dip and cake. But, alas, no beer.
Rubio spoke briefly -- "I think there’s a football game on tonight" -- and wrapped up before the game began.
"Enjoy the game. It doesn’t really matter to me, the Dolphins haven't been there since '84, '85." (1985.)
An earlier version of this post misstated Diaz de la Portilla's title.<\i>