05/28/2013 01:33 pm ET Updated May 28, 2013

Steve King: Immigration Will Damage Marco Rubio In 2016

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is already predicting doom in 2016 for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the influential Republican caucuses in Iowa, where he said the senator will likely lose based on his immigration reform bill.

"Rubio seems to be so damaged it will be very difficult for him to recover here in Iowa," King told the Washington Examiner's Byron York. "My perspective is that the immigration issue will sort Republican candidates."

King is a staunch opponent of immigration reform that legalizes undocumented immigrants, a major part of the bipartisan gang of eight bill Rubio helped draft. Rubio has been pitching the bill, which also increases interior and border enforcement, as necessary to both the party and the nation as a whole.

Rubio has also faced opposition to the bill from tea party leaders and influencers such as former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, pundit Erick Erickson and radio hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin.

He appeared on Sean Hannity's Fox News show last Friday to pitch the immigration reform legislation to conservative viewers.

The Florida senator hasn't said whether he plans to run for president in 2016, but many signs point to him joining the race. He's already visited Iowa, which will be among the first in 2016 to make its pick for the Republican presidential nominee.

Other potential candidates may also support the gang of eight immigration reform bill. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who like Rubio has remained quiet on whether he plans to run, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he wants to support the bill, and might if the amendments he supports are adopted.

(h/t TPM)



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