Rubio earns rare primary endorsement from key Va. newspaper

Getty Images

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioPoll: Clinton has 4-point lead over Trump in Florida Five takeaways from Florida Senate debate The Trail 2016: Comeback in the works? 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 McCainFlake gets early 2018 primary challenger Cruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Trump promises ‘new deal for black America’ MORE and Mitt Romney in face-offs against Barack ObamaBarack ObamaIn this economy, Latinos are most frequent victims of wage theft The Trail 2016: Comeback in the works? Trump promises ‘new deal for black America’ 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 TrumpState electoral numbers are fun to watch, but don't matter in the end The Hill's 12:30 Report WATCH LIVE: Trump campaigns in Ohio MORE or Ted CruzTed CruzCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Commerce official will hit critics of domain name transition The media is rigging the election by reporting WikiLeaks emails 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).