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2 Florida state senators from Miami back Marco Rubio instead of Jeb Bush


The Florida Capitol has been Jeb Bush Country for months, something the former governor's presidential campaign noted this week by trumpeting that 20 of 26 GOP state senators have endorsed him. The list was first published by Politico.

Two of the senators not on the list are from Miami, Bush's hometown. And they're backing the other local Republican running for president, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

State Sens. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and René García say they're bucking their colleagues because they're closer to Rubio, the former state House speaker -- not because they have anything against Bush. (The third Miami Republican state senator, Anitere Flores, is on Team Bush.)

"I respect and admire both Jeb and Marco," Diaz de la Portilla said in a text message to the Miami Herald. "I share their political philosophy. But I particularly like Marco's vision for America's future; Marco's energy, optimism, and passion are contagious."

García, of Hialeah, said he has known Rubio since the 1996 Bob Dole presidential campaign.

"I really think he could bring this country together," he said. "I will never speak ill of Jeb -- he was a great governor. When you go to Tallahassee, you do feel everyone is supporting Jeb Bush.

"But I do feel some people are giving Marco a second look."

The other senators missing from Bush's endorsement list are Charlie Dean of Inverness, Alan Hays of Umatilla, Travis Hutson of Jacksonville, and Tom Lee of Brandon.

Here are the senators who endorsed Bush, per his campaign:

Senate President Andy Gardiner

Senate Pro Tempore Garrett Richter
Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Denise Grimsley
State Senator Thad Altman
State Senator Aaron Bean
State Senator Rob Bradley
State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
State Senator Jeff Brandes
State Senator Nancy Detert
State Senator Greg Evers
State Senator Anitere Flores
State Senator Don Gaetz
State Senator Dorothy Hukill
State Senator Jack Latvala
State Senator John Legg
State Senator Joe Negron
State Senator Wilton Simpson
State Senator David Simmons
State Senator Kelli Stargel