In a world filled with political millionaires, presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, is quickly becoming known as one of the least wealthy politicians in Washington.
Rubio has long been criticized for his personal spending. In fact, in September, Rubio sold $68,241 of retirement funds to cover personal bills, according to the Washington Post. In an article titled “Does Rubio have a spending problem?” the paper wrote the following.
“…the 43-year-old Florida Republican also made what is typically viewed as a desperate financial maneuver — cashing out nearly $70,000 in retirement funds.”
Rubio explained the choice to sell the funds, saying that he had to replace his refrigerator, fix his air conditioning unit, and pay private school tuition for his children.
The choice to sell the funds has made headlines ever since, causing many media outlets to pose the question: Is Marco Rubio wealthy enough for The White House?
Unlike many of the other presidential hopefuls, Rubio isn’t a millionaire. For 2014, Rubio’s campaign reported assets of somewhere between $300,000 and $840,000. In 2013, Marco Rubio was ranked 83rd on the list of richest senators. The total list of senators numbers 100.
In total, Rubio and his wife reported $339,000 in earnings in 2014, which includes $174,000 earned from Rubio’s salary as a senator. Rubio also has income from book royalties, his position as an adjunct professor at Florida International University, and rental income. In addition, Rubio’s wife draws an income from the charity she works with, according to Business Insider.
By contrast, those running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination had considerably more money. Rick Santorum, for example, reported a net worth of up to $1.9 million in 2012, and 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney reported a net worth of up to $250 million. Romney’s 2011 earnings totaled more than $9.3 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
During the 2012 election, Romney was painted as a candidate who, because of his wealth, was out of touch with the average American.
Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, has attempted to do just the opposite during his campaigns. He frequently cites his middle-class upbringing and shares his rags-to-riches story with audiences and reminds voters that he, too, fought hard to pay off his student loan debt.
The dichotomy between Marco Rubio’s total net worth and those of his opponents could make the race for president more interesting, political scientist Susan McManus told the Washington Post.
“I think it’s going to be really interesting, because both Bush and Clinton are going to try to stress that they’re in touch with the middle class, but everybody knows they are both millionaires.”
As is the case with many political candidates, Marco Rubio’s finances are likely to remain part of the discussion as the race for the 2016 Republican presidential bid heats up. The question is this: Will Marco Rubio’s unique financial situation help him or hurt him?
That remains to be seen.
[Photo by T. J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images]