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Marco Rubio takes steps towards 2016 run

The senator and potential presidential contender has hired a new finance director, is planning to visit early voting states and will raise money in California.
Marco Rubio (Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA)
Republican Senator from Florida Marco Rubio delivers remarks on his reaction to US President Barack Obama's announcement of plans to restore diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on Dec. 17, 2014.

NBC News confirms that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is taking new steps toward a possible 2016 presidential run.

He has hired a new finance director (Anna Rogers from the Karl Rove-backed group American Crossroads); has planned early state visits for next month; and is skipping Senate votes next week to raise money in California.

Related: Rubio struggles to leave immigration fights behind as 2016 looms

The news was first reported by ABC.

A Rubio aide also tells NBC News that the Florida senator has brought two major GOP donors on board: George Seay, the founder & CEO of Annadale Capital; and Jim Rubrich, former CEO of RockTenn.

None of this is a guarantee Rubio will ultimately run. Jeb Bush's likely candidacy is a major hurdle for Rubio, especially when it comes to fundraising and building support in their common home state of Florida.

But the news shows that Rubio is sending signals that he's serious about gauging support for a White House bid.

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