Occupation: U.S. Senator from Florida
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 0
Riding the angry Tea Party wave, Rubio, the conservative former Florida house speaker and son of Cuban exiles, stunned the nation by upsetting then Florida governor Charlie Crist (a moderate Republican forced by Rubio's surging campaign to run as an independent) in last year's U.S. Senate race. Virtually overnight, Rubio became a new leading Republican voice, a potential presidential candidate and the GOP's new hope for garnering more Latino voters.
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