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Marco Rubio scores backing of Nevada, Minnesota and North Carolina lawmakers

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The list of current and former lawmakers backing Marco Rubio is growing.

On Monday, the Rubio campaign announced the backing of North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Nevada Rep. Cresent Hardy. The endorsements come just days after the Florida Republican came in second in South Carolina.

“It has been a tough time in this country and this district and I think Marco will help bring our economy back. He will strengthen this country. He will strengthen our military. And I would like to say the reason I have taken so long is we are at a point where we have three major candidates,” said Hardy during a rally in North Las Vegas on Sunday. “I think Marco is the right guy, the right person for me. I think he is the right person for this state. And I think he is the right person for this country. Folks, I really appreciate his willingness to serve because it is not easy.”

The Nevada Republican caucus is Tuesday. Recent polling averages show Rubio in third, trailing Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, in Nevada.

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Pawlenty, endorsed Rubio on Monday. The former Minnesota governor and 2012 presidential hopeful said Rubio “is strong, conservative, informed and electable.

“Our nominee must be someone who can win in November. Minnesota has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate in nearly 50 years, but polls show Marco — and only Marco — can beat Hillary Clinton here,” he said. “Simply put, Marco gives conservatives the best chance to unite, grow our movement, and elect the next generation of leadership.”

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Tillis also endorsed Rubio Monday. Before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Tillis was a member of the North Carolina House, where he served as Speaker of the House.

“Like myself, Marco came from humble beginnings and worked very hard to get to where he is today. Marco lived the American Dream, and he will ensure that each and every one of us can do the same,” he said in a statement. “I’m supporting Marco Rubio for president because he has an unmatched ability to inspire and uplift the American people. Through his vision of optimism and his strength of principle, Marco Rubio represents a bright future for the Republican Party and America. He has the unique capability of drawing new people into the party, which is critically important in a swing state like North Carolina.”

The Minnesota primary is March 1; while North Carolina voters head to the polls on March 15.

The list of current and former lawmakers backing Marco Rubio is growing.

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