The move toward supporting Rubio began before Iowa’s stunning results. From Niels Lesniewski and Bridget Bowman in Roll Call:
Florida Republican Marco Rubio’s strong third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses could accelerate his bid to secure Senate endorsements for his presidential campaign, supporters said Tuesday.
Rubio’s campaign told Roll Call that in the aftermath of the showing in Iowa, aides have had conversations with many members of the House and Senate about endorsements.
In addition, the aide said that what was described as a handful of additional endorsements should be expected in the days ahead, with the message being that Rubio is best equipped to defeat Clinton in November.
One Senate Republican, South Carolina’s Tim Scott, announced his support for Rubio on Tuesday, bringing the candidate’s congressional endorsement total to five senators and 23 House members. Beyond the endorsements, several senators traveled to Iowa in the past few days to campaign
Rubio supporter Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho said he thought the Senate’s turn toward Rubio began before the results in Iowa became clear.
“I think there’s movement in that regard, but it was happening even before last night,” Risch told Roll Call. “It’s starting.”
Risch was among the lawmakers appearing at caucus sites in Iowa on behalf of candidates, as was Inhofe.
Republican Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and Cory Gardner of Colorado also made swings through Iowa for Rubio on Monday, a day when the Senate did not hold roll call votes.
The split between top republican GOP pols in South Carolina is interesting, with Sen. Lindsey Graham siding with Jeb Bush and Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. Tim Scott stumping for Rubio. The later two are expected in New Hampshire Friday.