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House leader endorses Bush for president

Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind), the Republican Policy Committee chairman and fifth-ranking member of the House, endorsed Jeb Bush for president on Friday, bolstering the former Florida governor's Congressional endorsement lead over his GOP rivals.

"I've watched this primary carefully and believe Jeb Bush is uniquely qualified to lead our nation out of the morass created by the current administration," Messer said in a statement.

Messer, one of the few elected members of House leadership to endorse in the presidential primary so far, lauded Bush's policy proposals on taxes, energy and foreign policy and said his record of conservative accomplishments as governor of Florida is unmatched in the field.

"Jeb's record in Florida proves he's a man of his word, a true conservative reformer who can change Washington and fix the big things that are broken with our federal government," Messer said. "I'm all in for Jeb, and think he would make a terrific Commander-in-Chief."

With Messer in his corner, Bush now has endorsements from 25 members of the House, according to the FiveThirtyEight endorsement tracker.

That's more than double the next closest contender, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who counts 11 members of the House as supporters. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has 10.

Bush is tied for the lead among Senate endorsements with Rubio. Both men have been endorsed by three members of the upper chamber.

Even as Bush has rebooted his struggling campaign, he has continued to land endorsements from influential members of the party, such as former Sens. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).

Bush is seeking to beat back a challenge from Rubio, his in-state rival with similar establishment appeal, who has been picking up steam in the endorsement primary, rolling out the support of three U.S. senators last week.

Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a member of leadership who is appointed to his position, also has endorsed Bush, while GOP Conference Vice Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) threw her support behind the only woman in the GOP primary, Carly Fiorina.

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