The top Republican in Maine’s House of Representatives has become the third high-ranking member of his party to endorse a candidate for president in 2016, throwing his support behind U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.
House Minority Leader Ken Fredette said Thursday that he will march with Rubio in the Independence Day parade in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, this weekend, and that he “looks forward to being a part of [Rubio’s] leadership team here in Maine, and helping out however I can.”
Fredette said he met Rubio at a Maine Heritage Policy Center event in southern Maine a few years ago, and has watched his star grow brighter from afar ever since then. He said Rubio — a Cuban-American whose relative youth sets him apart from many of his peers — speaks across generational and ethnic lines that have troubled Republican candidates in the past.
“It’s an important time in our history. We’ve had eight years of a Democratic president, and this is an opportunity for Republicans to get back in the White House,” Fredette said. “He brings a lot to the table that Republicans can be proud of and get behind, and can win over whoever the Democrat is.”
The diversity of endorsements from Maine’s top GOP leaders illustrates the fractured field of Republican candidates in the running for their party’s presidential nomination. When he announced his candidacy on Tuesday, Christie became the 14th Republican to enter the race.
A darling of the Tea Party movement, Rubio is among the most conservative candidates running. He’s pro-life, anti-tax and supports the controversial surveillance techniques associated with the War on Terror. He’s also said he does not believe human beings are contributing to climate change.