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COVER: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at a rally in Dallas on Jan. 6. PHOTO by COOPER NEILL/THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

FROM STAFF REPORTS

DRIPPING SPRINGS — Bucking a majority of his colleagues in the Texas Legislature, State Rep. Jason Isaac is urging Republican voters to choose U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the March 1 primary. 

In addition to endorsements from former Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Cruz enjoys support from nearly half of the Texas Legislature — 11 senators and 43 representatives — including State Sens. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown). Isaac is one of five Rubio campaign co-chairs in Texas along with another Central Texas officeholder, State Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock).

In an email that hit inboxes this morning as the first day of early voting began, the Dripping Springs Republican calls Cruz “an amazing leader” and concedes that the freshman senator from Texas enjoys broad support among Texas Republicans. But Cruz is less likely than Rubio to win a general election against the Democratic Party’s nominee, Isaac said.

“Through no fault of his own, Ted Cruz has been vilified in the media and it shows in polls on ‘electability’ which Marco Rubio leads overwhelmingly. In the last six presidential elections, Republicans have only won the popular vote once. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone that can actually unite this country would win in November? I believe Marco Rubio gives us the best chance to do that,” Isaac writes.

More from Isaac’s endorsement of Rubio:

As a former state legislator, Sen. Rubio knows firsthand the impact of intrusive federal government regulations, and he has fought hard during his time in the Senate to stop government growth. I truly believe he has the vision, leadership and strong conservative record needed to unite our party — and that he is the best candidate to limit government, preserve our liberty and unleash America’s greatness. I am excited and honored to offer my support to Marco Rubio for President of the United States. 

Isaac

Isaac

I know many of my conservative constituents support Ted Cruz. I think he is an amazing leader, one I have voted for and supported in the past, and he serves Texas well. However, this isn’t a legislative decision — this is a personal decision. Cruz and Rubio are arguably both among the top five most conservative members of Congress. 

Through no fault of his own, Ted Cruz has been vilified in the media, and it shows in polls on “electability” which Marco Rubio leads overwhelmingly. In the last six presidential elections, Republicans have only won the popular vote once! Wouldn’t it be nice if someone that can actually unite this country would win in November? I believe Marco Rubio gives us the best chance to do that.

Rubio’s service in the Florida legislature also gives him experience unique to other viable candidates of understanding firsthand the pain the federal government pushes down on states through unfunded mandates that exceed constitutional authority.

Furthermore, he is the only candidate that has actually accomplished reform to the un-Affordable Care Act — reform that will keep us, the taxpayers, from having to bail out insurance companies. I believe his success in this area will ultimately lead to the failure of Obamacare and turn us back toward a free-market approach to health insurance that promotes individual responsibility. Imagine that!

In endorsing Cruz last month, Campbell wrote:

I have watched the debates and listened to all the candidates. They each have admirable qualities, but Ted Cruz stands out as the proven conservative we can trust. I know he will fight for us every day, because his record proves that he is a fighter who will not waiver from defending the values that have kept our families strong and made our nation great.

Campbell

Campbell

Ted Cruz is a man of courage and I have seen that courage up close. In Texas, we both ran to unseat long-time incumbents and despite being dramatically outspent by our opponents, we both came out victorious.

As a recipient of the Courageous Conservative Award in the Texas Legislature, I can tell you that’s an attribute all too rare in politics these days.Over the past four years, I have witnessed Ted’s commitment to serving the best interest of every citizen, fighting to limit the size and scope of government, securing our borders, and defending our rights and freedoms under the Constitution while pushing back against the political establishment.

It is with great enthusiasm that I am throwing my support behind Ted Cruz for president. I don’t need a slogan to convince me that he will make America great again.

In addition to those who have signed on so far with Cruz or Rubio, a smattering of Texas officeholders back former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush including his son, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio).

In the Democratic Party presidential primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has been endorsed by U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) and Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo); State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) and State Reps. Donna Howard (D-Austin), Celia Israel (D-Austin), Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin), Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) and Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio).

None of the three congressmen who represent portions of Hays County — U.S. Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) or Roger Williams (R-Austin) — have announced endorsements in their parties’ presidential primaries.

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