“Support for Marco’s positive conservative vision and his potential presidential run is growing every day, and I’m honored to help in that effort,” Tompkins said in a statement released Thursday morning. "This race will be won by the candidate with the best vision for where to take this nation and the resources to ensure that message is heard. Marco has the vision – few have laid out in as much detail where they’d like to lead this country – and we’re going to spend the next two years ensuring that the resources are there and used to effectively share that vision with voters."
Tompkins is a veteran GOP operative who previously worked as South Carolina political director for Ronald Reagan and later held similar positions for George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. Bypassing Jeb Bush's presumed presidential campaign will be seen as a slight to the former Florida governor.
But given Tompkins's perch in South Carolina, his alignment with Rubio isn't unexpected. Many of the Palmetto State's most notable GOP operatives are also working with Rubio, including his presumed campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, and Heath Thompson, who is expected to be a senior adviser to the campaign. When Rubio ran for his Florida Senate seat in 2010, some of his earliest out-of-state support came from South Carolina, where then-Sen. Jim DeMint -- who now leads the Heritage Foundation -- was an avid backer.
Tompkins will be joined by media consultant Jon Lerner, a longtime political ad maker; communications director Jeff Sadosky, a veteran of Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and until recently a spokesman for Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio); and top fundraiser Jon Graham, of the firm Gula Graham.
One of the early donors to the PAC is expected to be Norman Braman, a billionaire Miami-based auto dealer who has known Rubio since his days in the Florida House. Braman confirmed to The Washington Post last month that he planned to donate as much as $10 million to a Rubio-aligned PAC.
Word of a new Rubio-aligned super PAC comes just a day after a network of similar groups backing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) announced that they expect to raise $31 million to support his presidential bid by the end of the week. And Bush is visiting Chicago, Boston and Nashville this week as he continues raising money for his Right to Rise PAC, which is expected to raise at least $100 million in the early months of this year.
News of the launch of Conservative Solutions was first reported by The Associated Press.