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Arizona congressman endorses Marco Rubio for president

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks during a town hall meeting at the Saint Anselm Institute of Politics in Manchester, N.H., Thursday Feb. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

PHOENIX — A congressman from Arizona has picked his horse in the 2016 race for the White House.

U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon said Thursday he would support Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) because he agrees with him on several key issues.

“As far as getting our nation secure again, getting our economy back on track again and securing our borders, those are the things that are incredibly important to me and I believe they are to him too,” Salmon said.

Salmon has known Rubio personally for about three years. He told KTAR that Rubio is an authentic man who holds true to his values and, most importantly, is a leader.

“We need a commander-in-chief that actually listens to the people and honors the commitments he makes, and I believe [Rubio] is that person,” he said.

Salmon’s endorsement comes on the heels of a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses for Rubio and an endorsement from Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the presidential race Wednesday.

Some pundits believe Rubio’s strong showing in Iowa could sound like a starting gun to the Republican Party’s top donors.

“A lot of people who held back have now seen how real my candidate is,” said Phil Rosen, a New York-based fundraiser for Rubio. Rosen said he’d received — unprompted — about 20 emails in the early hours Tuesday from people asking how they can give money to Rubio’s campaign.

Salmon is not the first Arizona politician to support the Florida sentator. Former Sen. Jon Kyl recently announced he is also backing Rubio and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich serves as chairman of Rubio’s campaign in the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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