Former Florida Speaker Marco Rubio (R) is set to announce that Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.) is endorsing his Senate campaign.
“If there weren’t enough reasons to support Marco Rubio, the health care debate should illuminate for Republicans the importance of electing him to the Senate,” Price said in a statement. “I have full confidence Marco will stand with Republicans against big government disasters like the stimulus and ObamaCare.”
Price also took a not-so-subtle shot at Rubio’s primary opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist, who took heat in conservative circles for his efforts to work with President Barack Obama on passing economic stimulus legislation early last year.
“The last thing we need in the Senate is someone who will abandon our party and undercut our efforts to limit government and take care of taxpayer dollars,” Price said.
Price is a key conservative voice among House Republicans, and by dropping his endorsement Tuesday, Rubio’s camp is looking to push back against what certainly hasn’t been the former state legislator’s best news cycle of the campaign.
Several recent stories in Florida newspapers have raised questions about Rubio’s fiscally conservative image, citing his personal and political spending habits during his tenure as Florida Speaker. Over the weekend, Rubio took more heat over a Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times report about his use of a pair of political committees to pay for thousands of dollars in undisclosed expenses, as well as to pay family members for political work.
Along with Price, other key conservative leaders in Congress who have endorsed Rubio include House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) and Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
The winner of the primary will likely face Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) in the general election.