November 29, 2011 | 10:16am
Marco Rubio may be South Florida's star Cuban-American politician, but he's not endorsing anyone in the presidential primary. So, the Republican endorsement prize in these parts is, as it's been for quite some time, picking up the backing of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and retired Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Mitt Romney won that endorsement prize this morning as he swooped into Miami to make an appearance with the trio.
Romney appeared with the three this morning at Conchita Foods, a family-owned foods wholesaler with orgins in pre-Castro Cuba, in Medley this morning for the announcement. Romney had already locked up the backing of another important Cuban-American Florida politician, former Sen. Mel Martinez.
"Mitt Romney believes that America is an exceptional nation and has a strategy to restore our country's greatness," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. "The Romney plan for economic growth will create jobs and opportunities for all, especially for South Floridians, who are passionate in their pursuit of the American dream."
The Miami trio and Martinez all endorsed John McCain over Romney in 2008. McCain went on to win Florida, and the Republican nomination. Florida's primary is set early on the calendar this year on January 31st.
Cuban Americans make up the vast majority of Republicans in Miami-Dade County, the most populace county in the state, so the endorsements are considered key. Though, given that the three are relatively moderate and mainstream (even the most conservative of the trio, Mario, is starting to look more moderate in comparison to today's Tea Party-fueled GOP) their endorsement of Romney isn't much of a surprise given the rest of the GOP field.
Conspicuously missing from the joint endorsement: first term Rep. David Rivera. With his troubles, its likely no one will be willing to take his backing.
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