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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

United for Marco Rubio: Florida GOP members of Congress make it official

12

July

Marco Rubio's got a majority of Florida's Republican congressional delegation behind him for his re-election bid, according to a new batch of formal endorsements released by his campaign.

Four representatives -- Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor, Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami, Jeff Miller of Chumuckla and Daniel Webster of Winter Garden -- gave Rubio their support. So did former Rep. Steve Southerland of Panama City.

In all, that means Rubio's received the official backing of 10 of 17 sitting Republicans in the U.S. House. He faces a challenge from Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff.

"I commend Senator Rubio on his decision to run for re-election. In these challenging times, Senator Rubio's experience and deep knowledge on issues of foreign policy and national security are desperately needed," Diaz-Balart said in a statement. "I am confident he will continue serving our state with honor and integrity."

Miami's two other Republican reps, Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, tweeted their support of Rubio shortly after he announced he'd seek re-election.

Bilirakis, Diaz-Balart, Miller and Webster -- as well as Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen -- had all initially backed Jeb Bush for president, before Bush dropped out. Most of them later switched allegiances to Rubio. In April, after Rubio's candidacy had ended, Miller endorsed Trump. He campaigned for him Monday in Virginia.

The other Florida representatives who have endorsed Rubio for Senate are Ander Crenshaw of Jacksonville, John Mica of Orlando, Tom Rooney of Okeechobee and Dennis Ross of Lakeland.

Here are the full new endorsement statements:

Bilirakis: "I applaud Marco’s decision to run for re-election, and I will be enthusiastically supporting his campaign. I have seen Marco’s determined work ethic as he fights to bring common sense back to the VA, and I’m proud to say he’s our U.S. Senator. Marco’s leadership for Florida is second to none, and he will continue to be a fighter for Floridians in the U.S. Senate."

Diaz-Balart: “I commend Senator Rubio on his decision to run for re-election. In these challenging times, Senator Rubio’s experience and deep knowledge on issues of foreign policy and national security are desperately needed. ... I am confident he will continue serving our state with honor and integrity. I look forward to supporting Senator Rubio’s re-election bid this fall.”

Miller: “Florida needs a Senator who will take our conservative values and work hard for our State.  I’ve seen Marco do it as a state legislator, in taking on and beating the Republican establishment during his Senate run, and then delivering results as Florida’s Senator. In particular, Marco has stood with me in fighting for our veterans and holding the VA accountable for the unforgivable scandals and abuses we’ve seen in recent years. Florida needs Marco and his conservative agenda of removing the federal burden on our neighbors more than ever before, while rebuilding our military and taking care of our veterans. I encourage Floridians across the Panhandle and our entire state to join me in supporting Marco for Senator.”

Southerland: “Marco Rubio’s commitment to Florida is unmatched, and I am proud to endorse my friend in his re-election bid. I had the pleasure of working side by side with Marco, and I can attest that his conservative leadership and determination are beyond compare in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to Marco continuing to serve as our U.S. Senator, and I applaud him for his decision to seek re-election."

Webster: "I am pleased to endorse Marco in his re-election bid, and I look forward to seeing him continue his service as our Senator. Marco has remained true to the conservative principles on which he ran in 2010, and I see his dedication to Floridians' values as he works to represent our state and our nation. Marco has my full support."

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 8:27am]

    

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