The Republican Party's 5 Rising Stars

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1. Marco Rubio, Florida senator-elect

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(Jeffrey M. Boan/AP Photo)

Already labeled by some as the "Cuban Barack Obama," Rubio has risen from Senate race afterthought to "the great right hope" in a little under a year. His ability to articulate a desire for a smaller government that lives within its means has won the support of Tea Partyers and moderates alike. Moreover, his Cuban heritage has allowed him to redefine the Republican Party's relationship with a Hispanic voting bloc that will become increasingly important in future elections.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on the Tea Party.]

Next: 2. Kristi Noem (South Dakota, At Large)

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