WASHINGTON (AP) – Marco Rubio has received an endorsement for the Republican presidential nomination from North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis as Rubio seeks to further consolidate support after a second-place finish in South Carolina and Jeb Bush’s departure from the field.
Tillis’ backing comes three weeks before North Carolina holds its own primary on the same day as four other states, including Rubio’s home state of Florida. North Carolina is the 9th largest state by population, and its general election voters narrowly chose Mitt Romney in 2012 and Barack Obama in 2008.
Tillis said in a statement Monday that Rubio “has the unique capability of drawing new people into the party, which is critically important in a swing state like North Carolina.”
Tillis and Rubio are first-term senators and former state House speakers.