Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has officially endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the 2016 presidential race. Rubio’s campaign released a statement announcing the endorsement, which comes at a time when high-profile debate spats between Rubio and rivals Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie have called Rubio’s chances into question.
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In the statement, Rubio praised Brownback as â€śone of the most conservative governors in the countryâ€ť and called him â€śone of the nation’s strongest defenders of the unborn, limited government, and traditional values.â€ť
â€śJust like Governor Brownback, Marco has consistently defended life, small government and free enterprise throughout his career in public service,â€ť the statement continued. Brownback becomes the first sitting governor to endorse a political candidate in the current election cycle.
Brownback released his own statement announcing the endorsement. “Marco Rubio is a true conservative who can unite the party and defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the fall,” . “In the past, conservatives have been forced to make a choice between their head and their hearts. This year, we are fortunate to not have to make that choice.â€ť
Rubio has a â€śproven track record of protecting life, defending religious liberty, and undoing Obamacare,â€ť Brownback added. Kansas is set to hold its Republican primary contest on March 5, less than a week after the so-called â€śSuper Tuesdayâ€ť showdown in 13 states. The state is home to a large amount of evangelical voters, a group that has largely flocked to rival Ted Cruz.
The Brownback administration has proven controversial, both within Kansas and on the national stage. He made headlines by signing three anti-abortion bills into law during his tenure and for stripping anti-discrimination protections from LGBT people last year. Late last year, a poll revealed that only 18 percent of Kansans approve of Brownback.