Rosen declined to say how much the event raised, but guests were asked to contribute between $1,000 and $2,700, meaning that it netted at least $300,000. Organizers said there are already discussions about holding more finance events soon in the New York area.
Rubio spent more than an hour laying out his domestic and foreign policy agenda. "The entire audience was mesmerized," Rosen said of the crowd. "You could have heard a pin drop."
The large turnout for Rubio comes the same week former Florida governor Jeb Bush visited to New York raise money, underscoring the intensifying competition between former allies. Last month, an anonymous Bush donor described the governor's finance team to Politico as "the varsity squad," saying, ‘I’m not sure Rubio’s would even qualify as the junior varsity.’”
On Wednesday night, Rubio looked out over the packed room and quipped: "Doesn't look like the JV team to me," according to people in attendance, drawing loud cheers. (Politico first reported his comments.)
Among the major players moving to Rubio are many top bundlers who were backing former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, including financial services executive Jon Burkan.
"We need a fresh face against Hillary Clinton," said Burkan, who met with Rubio in a small group of donors Wednesday. "And I think he's the only one in the field who can bring in new voters we need to win."
Rubio raised just $6 million in the last quarter, but aides say his fundraising has ramped up considerably, with October on track to be his best fundraising month so far.