Rubio makes first Senate endorsement

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will travel to Ohio to endorse state Treasurer Josh Mandel’s (R) Senate campaign.

Mandel told supporters in an email that he and Rubio would “crisscross the state” together on Monday and Tuesday, stopping in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.

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“We will visit with grassroots volunteers, blue-collar laborers, small-business owners, senior citizens and college students as we project our message of restoring fiscal sanity to Washington and economic freedom to America,” Mandel wrote.

Mandel’s campaign said it was the first Senate endorsement of the cycle for Rubio, a rising GOP star who is quickly joining the ranks of conservative kingmakers. Rubio is also considered a top vice-presidential prospect for 2012 and a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

The official endorsement will come Monday night at an event at Wright State University in Dayton.

A first-term treasurer, Mandel won the Republican primary in Ohio last week, and will face Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in November.

"It's no surprise that he's in town raising cash for his good buddy Josh Mandel, who agrees that the auto industry shouldn't have been saved and supports gutting important protections for our seniors," said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker.

Mandel’s campaign came under attack by Democrats on Monday for preventing a Democratic tracker from filming Mandel’s appearance at a local press club, and for allegedly intermingling email lists from his state treasurer’s campaign and his Senate campaign.

The Hill rates this race as leaning Democratic.

- This post was updated at 3:24 p.m.