Marco Rubio's Silicon Valley Support: Where It May Go Next
Marco Rubio championed two causes close to Silicon Valley's heart.
By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
March 16, 2016, 7:15 PM
• 4 min read
-- When it comes to showing support with donations, Marco Rubio was the Republican of choice for Silicon Valley.
The Florida senator, who suspended his campaign for president on Tuesday after a lackluster showing in the primaries, had early on courted the support of Silicon Valley conservatives with his stance on two issues dear to the hearts of many in the tech sector: Deregulating the new economies that have sprung up with the advent of companies such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb, and also showing more flexibility on H-1B visas for highly skilled workers.
"He has been good on the sharing economy and the idea the economy is changing and people want more flexible workplaces or schedules that don't have to include a traditional W-2," Bradley Tusk, CEO of Tusk Ventures, a political strategy firm that works with Silicon Valley companies, told ABC News.
Tusk said immigration for highly skilled workers is also a "top issue in the Valley" because "people come to the country, they are a part of the community and all of a sudden they have to leave, and that is hard on people."
With Rubio now out of the running in 2016, Tusk said it creates an opportunity for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to step up and persuade Silicon Valley Republicans to throw him their support.
"It’s up to Kasich to prove it. I don't think the other two are amenable to the majority people in the tech community," Tusk said of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
"If he would give a speech and say, 'Here is where I am on high skilled immigration and here is where I am in investing in STEM,' I think he would get a lot of attention," Tusk said, referring to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"If he would establish himself as the lone GOP candidate who gets these issues," Tusk said, "he would generate a lot of support very quick."