Marco Rubio Snags First Endorsement from U.S. Senator

Image: Marco Rubio
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at the Iowa GOP's Growth and Opportunity Party at the Iowa state fair grounds in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)Nati Harnik / AP

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By Hallie Jackson

Marco Rubio picked up his first endorsement from a U.S. senator on Monday as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner threw his support behind his Florida colleague.

"I believe Marco Rubio presents us with an opportunity Americans can be excited about - and that's the generational opportunity, generational choice for all Americans," Gardner said on Fox News.

The backing of Gardner, one of the party's young stars, could help boost Rubio's standing in the general election battleground state of Colorado, where one in five people is Hispanic.

Appealing to those Latino voters could prove instrumental in winning the purple state: nearly half are eligible to vote, according to the Pew Hispanic Resarch Center.

Gardner framed Rubio as the most viable and electable general-election candidate.

"If we are going to put Marco Rubio on the ballot, that's our best foot forward,” said Gardner, “our best opportunity to defeat Hillary Clinton."

“Cory is a next generation conservative leader and we're thrilled to have his support,” said Rubio aide Alex Conant. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but our campaign continues to grow as more people learn about Marco's conservative agenda for a new American Century.”