- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 22, 2010

Conservative Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio picked up another high-profile endorsement Thursday when former Vice President Dick Cheney said he was backing the former Florida House speaker over his primary rival Gov. Charlie Crist.

Mr. Cheney’s support is another in a growing list of endorsements for Mr. Rubio from powerful Republicans, including U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, who on Tuesday said he was backing the 38-year-old lawyer.

Marco is exactly the kind of a strong conservative leader we need in Washington right now,” Mr. Cheney said. “We can trust Marco to stand up to the Obama agenda that threatens our freedom, and promote clear conservative alternatives.”

Mr. Rubio’s campaign has been so successful that the once popular Mr. Crist has suggested he may withdraw from the primary and run for Senate as an independent.

Mr. Cheney’s support comes the same day that a new poll shows that Mr. Rubio would easily defeat Mr. Crist and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek in a three-way race. The Rasmussen Reports survey has Mr. Rubio with a 7 percentage-point lead over the governor and a 15-point lead over Mr. Meek.

But the announcement also comes a day after two of Florida’s biggest newspaper published results of a joint investigation that shows that the IRS is looking into Mr. Rubio’s use of a GOP-issued credit card while he served in the Florida Legislature.

Mr. Rubio, who stepped down from the Florida House at the end of 2008 due to term limits, has denied any wrongdoing.