The Republican Senate caucus has been divided in its endorsements of candidates in the 2016 presidential primary, but a Colorado freshman has decided to formally back a senator who helped him with his own campaign last year.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who served in the House before defeating Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) a year ago, announced his support today for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Rubio stepped in with a Spanish-language ad, released by the Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of Gardner in May 2014. More than one in five residents of Colorado is Hispanic.
Rubio and Gardner serve together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Today Rubio’s campaign sent out a fundraising email from Gardner. “Thanks to Marco’s support during my first campaign for the Senate last year, I’ve been able to join him as a new generation of leaders advancing new ideas and solutions for building our country,” the Colorado lawmaker says.
“When Marco is our president, the votes I’m taking in the Senate will be on legislation that finally lands on the desk of a president who will sign bills into law, rather than vetoing them or getting Harry Reid to grind the Senate to a halt.”
It marks the first Senate endorsement for Rubio, one of four Senate GOPs running for president.
As far as other Senate endorsements, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has the backing of Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is backing his home-state compatriot, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has the endorsement of his best friend in the upper chamber, 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) back Mike Huckabee.
Those are all the endorsements so far from the upper chamber. Jeb leads the pack in House endorsements.