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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Rep. Rob Bishop endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for president Tuesday, joining two other members of the state's all-GOP congressional delegation in supporting the first-term Florida senator.
"No candidate better understands the challenges facing our nation in the 21st century than Marco Rubio," Bishop said, calling Rubio "a conservative who will help keep our country safe" and pledging to help him win the GOP nomination.
Bishop told KSL Newsradio's Doug Wright that Rubio understands western land issues and is someone whose instincts he can trust. He also praised the senator's experience as a Florida House speaker.
"That is a big deal to me," said Bishop, who served as speaker of the Utah House. "He understands what it's like to have to deal with the heavy-handed federal government."
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, is a state co-chairman of Rubio's campaign, along with Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and former state GOP Chairman Stan Lockhart.
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, has also endorsed Rubio, as has Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.
Neither Sen. Mike Lee nor Rep. Jason Chaffetz, both R-Utah, has backed a candidate in the crowded Republican field. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was an early supporter of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
A new UtahPolicy.com poll by Dan Jones & Associates put Rubio in third place among the GOP candidates, behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump was fourth in the poll of Utah voters.