Rubio earns rare primary endorsement from key Va. newspaper
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Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio: McCabe 'should've been allowed to finish through the weekend' For Tillerson, bucking Trump became a job-killer At least six dead after pedestrian bridge collapses on cars in Florida MORE (R-Fla.) on Sunday earned the coveted endorsement of a Virginia newspaper that usually refrains from backing candidates in competitive primaries.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, the leading daily newspaper in the state’s capital, delivered its endorsement just two days before the Virginia primary on Tuesday — months before it typically weighs in on the race.

“After considerable reflection, we have decided that standing on the sidelines as Virginians go to the polls Tuesday would be a dereliction of our duty,” the Times-Dispatch editorial board wrote.

While the Times-Dispatch endorsed former GOP nominees John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump congratulated Putin after his national security team told him not to: report Trump faces backlash after congratulating Putin on election win McCain rips Trump's congratulatory call to Putin as an insult to Russian people MORE and Mitt Romney in face-offs against Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWater has experienced a decade of bipartisan success Kentucky candidate takes heat for tweeting he'd like to use congressman for target practice What’s genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to Trump MORE, the paper rarely supports a candidate during a primary.

“It is the flaws of two men seeking the Republican nomination that pushed us into abandoning our usual practice of making a presidential endorsement in the waning weeks of October,” the editorial board wrote, arguing that the “election of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Anti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight MORE or Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz says Cambridge Analytica assured him its practices were legal Dem battling Cruz in Texas: ‘I can understand how people think this is crazy’ Overnight Tech: Facebook faces crisis over Cambridge Analytica data | Lawmakers demand answers | What to watch for next | Day one of AT&T's merger trial | Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian MORE would not serve the best interests of the nation or the Republican Party.”

A poll released Sunday morning showed that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has a large lead in Virginia, while Rubio is battling for second place with Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).