Jeb touts Fla. endorsements in a jab at Rubio

Jeb touts Fla. endorsements in a jab at Rubio
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GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has lined up endorsements from eight onetime Florida House Speakers in an implicit jab at his rival, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Fla.), who held the role before joining the Senate.
 
The list rolled out by the former Florida governor’s campaign includes almost every House speaker from 1996 on, including current Speaker Steve Crisafulli. 
 
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Outside of Rubio, only two former Speakers from that period didn’t endorse Bush, one described by The Washington Post in 2012 as Rubio’s “mentor” and another who resigned after a felony misconduct charge.
 
"I've known Jeb Bush for three decades, served alongside him in Florida, and witnessed his tenacious, hands-on approach to government reform,” Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who previously served as Speaker in the Florida House, said in a statement released by Bush’s campaign.
 
“Jeb has strong executive experience and it is an honor to endorse him as a principled leader with a proven conservative record."
 
Six of the eight served in the Florida House with Rubio, who spent eight years as a state lawmaker before mounting his successful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010. The Bush camp's press release makes no mention of Rubio.
 
Johnnie Byrd, the former Speaker described by the Post as Rubio's mentor, told the Tampa Bay Times recently that while he supported much of Bush's agenda, he hadn't decided whom he would support in 2016. In response to Bush's claim on the stump that he can build consensus in Washington, Byrd described Bush's style as "my way or the highway."
 
Rubio’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the endorsements.
 
Bush and Rubio, who have been described as having a mentor-mentee relationship, have wrestled for supremacy in the Sunshine State from the start of their campaigns, as many strategists questioned whether the race had enough room for two Florida candidates. 
 
Bush has relied on his institutional network of support in Florida and around the country to rack up more than $11 million in the last fundraising quarter despite announcing his campaign with just two weeks left in the quarter. His supporting super-PAC took in another $103 million.
 
Rubio raised $12 million across that quarter, enough to put him in the mix with the rest of the field.
 
The slate of endorsements, including those from a majority of Florida’s Republican House delegation in June, haven’t translated into a major advantage over Rubio. 
 
Sunshine State voters gave both candidates essentially the same favorability rating in an August Quinnipiac University poll — Bush received 53 percent and Rubio received 52 percent — but Bush held a higher score on honesty.  
 
Bush finished second in a poll of Florida Republican voters, with 17 percent, followed by Rubio, with 11 percent. Businessman Donald Trump led the field in the state.
 
Bush also still leads Rubio in the national polls; a RealClearPolitics average of recent polling shows Bush third overall in the GOP field, with 8 percent, and Rubio in fifth place, at 5.5 percent.