Sen. Rand Paul endorses Mitt Romney

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) endorsed Mitt Romney on Thursday night but said his father would remain his "first pick."

"My first choice had always been my father. I campaigned for him when I was 11 years old. He's still my first pick," Paul told Fox News's Sean Hannity. "But now that the nominating process is over, tonight I'm happy to announce that I'm going to be supporting Gov. Mitt Romney."

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is still in the presidential race, although he's suspended his campaign and admitted Wednesday he lacked the delegates to win the nomination. Romney has clinched the 1,144 delegates necessary for the nod.

The younger Paul, a freshman senator, is a Tea Party favorite who's seen as the heir to his father's libertarian legacy — along with the elder Paul's dedicated band of followers, a group that made the Texas congressman a fundraising force in the presidential campaign.

Sen. Paul told Fox News he met with Romney when the GOP presidential nominee was in Washington recently and that the two had a "kinship" on several issues.

"I think we have a lot in common, a lot of things that we will be able to fight together on," Paul said.

He also said he would campaign with Romney.

Romney said in a statement he was "honored" to have Paul's endorsement.

"Sen. Paul has been a leading voice in the effort to scale back the size and reach of government and promote liberty," he said. "I am grateful for Sen. Paul’s support and look forward to working with him to get America back on the right track.”