Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced he had just received the endorsement of former Club For Growth President Chris Chocola.
Chocola, a former congressman from Indiana's 2nd Congressional District, has been a long-time leader on a national stage for "promoting fiscally conservative values, and has fought for taxpayers his entire career," according to Rubio's camp. He also has long-standing ties with the establishment wing of the GOP, and his endorsement adds to the growing support among the party's power brokers.
"I am proud to support Marco Rubio, a strong fiscal conservative and living testament to the American Dream," Chocola said. "The son of a bartender and a maid, Marco has seen firsthand how American families and workers can thrive when the shackles of government are removed. Washington's pattern of borrowing and spending its way out of problems has failed to expand opportunity for working families, preventing many parents from providing their children with a better future as Marco's parents did for him. Marco is committed to expanding jobs and opportunity for all Americans, and he has successfully chipped away at Obamacare and consistently fought back against burdensome regulations that are crippling businesses from hiring more workers and increasing wages. Under Marco's leadership, all American families will know that their best days lie ahead."
The endorsement might help boost his prospects in Iowa to some degree, but will likely have its biggest impact in New Hampshire, where establishment-leaning candidates generally fare much better. In Iowa, where evangelical Christians are the largest voting bloc in the first-in-the-nation Republican Caucus, support from northwest Iowans is often sought.
Rubio announced Tuesday he is building a base of support there, as well, with more than two dozen county leaders in 19 counties "committed to sharing Marco's vision for a New American Century." In announcing the Northwest Iowa leadership team, his campaign acknowledged the importance of winning over voters in the state's "Bible Belt."
Among those on the list announced Tuesday were four members of the Iowa General Assembly" Reps. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake), Brian Best (R-Glidden) and Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids) as well as Sen. Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City). All four announced their endorsements of Rubio with official statements:
"I'm proud to support Marco Rubio because he is a next generation leader who will move power away from Washington and back to the people," Wills said. "I see in Marco Rubio the same ability President Reagan had to speak in a positive, optimistic way that will draw more Americans to the conservative cause. His support in Northwest Iowa is growing stronger daily and I look forward to helping him win on Feb. 1 and in the general election against Hillary Clinton."
"Marco Rubio is the leader we need to take on the issues of the 21st century, and I'm honored to help lead his efforts here in Northwest Iowa," Bertrand said. "Marco is a conservative who believes in strong national defense and has proven judgment when it comes to the challenges facing our nation around the globe."
"As the son of a bartender and a maid, Marco Rubio understands the economic obstacles American families face every day," Best said. "He knows the old ways of doing things in Washington have failed and his plan to create new jobs and opportunities is what Iowans are looking for in our next president."
"I am proud to support Marco Rubio because he cares about the families of our nation—from my recently born son to my Granny—and those of us in between," Jones said. "He cares because he's one of us, and his family is like our family. He's experiencing many of the same problems—and he knows how to solve them."
The Northwest Iowa leadership team includes voters from Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carroll, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Monona, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux and Woodbury counties.
Earlier in the day, Rubio also released a new 30-second TV ad, titled "Safe." In the video, he expands on recent national security criticisms by noting President Obama aims to reduce legal gun ownership in the U.S.
"Barack Obama released terrorists from Guantanamo, and now they are plotting to attack us," he says to the camera. "Instead of fighting to fund our troops, he fights to fund Planned Parenthood. He spies on Israel, and cut a deal with Iran. His plan after the attack in San Bernardino: take away our guns. While ISIS is beheading people, burning them in cages, he says climate change is our greatest threat."
The advertisement has begun running in early voting states.
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