Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has picking up endorsements since former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s exit from the 2016 GOP presidential race, now has three more in Virginia.
Former state attorney general Jerry Kilgore; his brother, state Del. Terry Kilgore and their father, Scott County Republican Party Chairman John Kilgore Sr., are all backing Rubio in Virginia’s March 1 primary.
The Kilgores initially supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the Republican contest, then Bush. The family has deep political connections in the state, starting in their home base of coal-heavy southwest Virginia.
“Marco understands that coal is not only critical to southwest Virginia, but to our nation’s energy demands,” Del. Kilgore said in a statement. "It’s important that we nominate a candidate who can unite our party and win in November."
The Kilgores join other prominent Rubio supporters across Virginia, including U.S. Reps. Barbara J. Comstock and Scott Rigell. But in recent polling from Christopher Newport University Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz both lag behind businessman Donald Trump in the state. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who visited Virginia Monday, is making a play for the same mainstream Republicans Rubio hopes to win on Super Tuesday.