BY GARY FINEOUT H-T Capital Bureau Correspondent
CORAL GABLES – Marco Rubio, the 39-year-old son of Cuban immigrants who began his race for the U.S. Senate facing a 35-point deficit, swept into office Tuesday night after a decisive victory over Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.
Rubio told supporters in his acceptance speech that he is determined to make good on promises that Republicans have made before, but have not kept: to control spending and lower taxes.
“We make a great mistake if we believe tonight these results somehow are an embrace of the Republican Party,” Rubio said.
“What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.”
Before a rousing crowd outside the historic Biltmore Hotel, Rubio called his victory a reminder that anyone can achieve anything in the United States regardless of their upbringing or birth.
“No matter where I go or what title I might achieve, I will always be the son of exiles,” Rubio said.
Rubio was championed by the Tea Party movement. The central themes of his campaign were condemnations of the federal stimulus, the health care overhaul and the nation’s growing deficit.
Rubio called his election and the success of other Republicans on Tuesday a fresh opportunity for the party after it lost control of Congress and the White House in 2008.
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