As the Republican Party regroups after Mitt Romney’s defeat, the message Saturday night at Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s birthday fundraiser was “turn the page” and “look to the future” — and what that future apparently holds is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the event’s featured speaker.

Rubio was invited to speak at the event around Sept. 1, Branstad told The Daily Caller, and had Romney won, the atmosphere might have been a bit different.

Even before they heard him speak on Saturday, Iowans were attracted to Rubio. Branstad said the fundraiser generated more than $600,000, a total he said was greater than he had raised before in any single event.

When asked why he was in Iowa on Saturday, Rubio simply and enthusiastically replied, “For Governor Branstad’s birthday!”

“I am not, nor will I ever be, a candidate for … offensive coordinator of Iowa,” Rubio joked in his speech. “I know there’s rumors.”


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