Ten additional Republican legislators are endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the campaign announced Thursday.
The endorsements show Rubio appears to be leading what’s known as the “invisible primary” in North Carolina – the race to rack up endorsements from key GOP politicians and donors ahead of the real primary on March 15.
More legislators here have publicly endorsed Rubio than any other Republican candidate, and he also has support from wealthy donors like former state budget director Art Pope and North Hills developer John Kane.
Thursday’s endorsements were from House Majority Leader Mike Hager of Rutherfordton, House Speaker Pro Tem Paul “Skip” Stam of Apex, House Majority Whip John Bell of Goldsboro, Sen. Jim Davis of Macon County, Sen. Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County, Rep. John Bradford of Mecklenburg County, Rep. Rob Bryan of Charlotte, Rep. Josh Dobson of McDowell County, Rep. Pat McElraft of Emerald Isle and Rep. Steve Ross of Burlington.
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“The big-government policies of President Obama have failed North Carolinians over the past eight years, and we’re excited to usher in a new era of conservatism with Marco Rubio,” Hager said in a news release. “Marco is a next-generation leader with the vision and purpose to uplift all Americans and keep us safe.”
Two other legislators, Sen. Andrew Brock of Mocksville and Rep. Jason Saine of Lincolnton, joined Rubio’s campaign months ago as state co-chairmen. The new endorsements came two days ahead of Rubio’s scheduled rally and fundraiser in Raleigh this weekend.