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GOP ad money supports Rubio

The Republican Party is supplying $2.5 million in advertising support to Marco Rubio’s Senate campaign in Florida, a sizable commitment to a candidate the party once tried to push out of the contest.

The money from the National Republican Senatorial Committee is the maximum the party can spend in coordination with Mr. Rubio. A party official said the money will be devoted to television ads at a time that is agreeable to Mr. Rubio’s campaign.

Mr. Rubio is in a three-way contest with Democratic Rep. Kendrick B. Meek and Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican now running as an independent. Mr. Crist had been the GOP’s chosen candidate in the race until Mr. Rubio, a “tea party”-backed candidate, outdistanced Mr. Crist in the polls.

Mr. Rubio could use the money. His latest campaign-finance report, filed last month, showed $4.5 million cash on hand, compared to $8 million for Crist. Mr. Meek reported $2.6 million in the bank.

For the NRSC, the financial support represents the second infusion of money into a tight Senate contest. Last week, it agreed to spend $3.4 million in the Senate race in Illinois in coordination with Republican candidate Rep. Mark Steven Kirk.

From wire dispatches and staff reports