By Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY – Former Governor Frank Keating this week announced his endorsement of Marco Rubio for president. Rubio has apparently garnered the backing of more Republican elected officials than any other GOP presidential hopeful. Tuesday’s results will determined if that is sufficient to help him catch front-runner Donald Trump or finish ahead of Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations, Keating said, “Before the privilege of serving as Governor of Oklahoma, I had the honor to work in the Reagan administration and witnessed how President Reagan inspired so many when talking about the greatness of our country.
“Marco Rubio speaks about America the same way. He understands that we are a unique and exceptional nation, and I’m supporting him because I know he is determined to preserve that. “
America faces great challenges and we need a president willing to confront them. I have been particularly focused on the high cost of housing that continues to crush middle and lower income Americans and our criminal justice system that is in need of desperate reform. Having looked at Marco’s record and listened to what he plans to do as President, I’m confident that he will put forward bold and meaningful solutions that address both of these pressing challenges. “I hope all Oklahomans will join with me in voting for Marco on March 1st so that we can have a nominee that can win this fall and bring back Reagan-style principles back to the White House.”
State Sen. David Holt, leading the Rubio campaign in Oklahoma, said in a statement, “I’m so proud that my fellow legislators, Republican leaders, and Oklahoma entrepreneurs would stand with me in supporting Marco Rubio.
“Now is the time for true Oklahoma conservatives to rally behind Marco because a vote for anyone else is a vote for Donald Trump. With so many pressing issues facing our nation abroad and at home, we need a true conservative leader who is prepared, can win in November, can unite our country, and lead us into the future. “I know that all of these leaders will be encouraging our friends, neighbors and constituents to vote for Marco this coming Tuesday, because if they do, we will get a nominee that can beat the Democrats and usher in a new American century.
Supporters of Sen. Rubio, R-Florida, include U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Tulsa, former U.S. Rep. Steve Largent, R-Tulsa, Treasurer Ken Miller, and Sens. Larry Boggs of Red Oak, Corey Brooks of Washington, Brian Crain of Tulsa, Kim David of Porter, Eddie Fields of Wynona, John Ford of Bartlesville, Jack Fry of Midwest City, A.J. Griffin of Guthrie, Darcy Jech of Kingfisher, Clark Jolley of Edmond, Mike Mazzei of Tulsa, Ron Sharp of Shawnee, Wayne Shaw of Grove, Frank Simpson of Springer, Jason Smalley of Stroud, Roger Thompson of Okemah, and Ervin Yen of Oklahoma City.
Also backing Rubio are state Reps. Leslie Osborn of Mustang, Josh Cockroft of Wanette, Lee Denney of Cushing, Randy Grau of Edmond, Katie Henke of Tulsa, Dan Kirby of Tulsa, Mark McBride of Moore, John Michael Montgomery of Lawton, Casey Murdock of Felt, Terry O’Donnell of Tulsa, Paul Wesselhoft of Moore, and Harold Wright of Weatherford.
Other state officials who have announced support for Rubio include Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese and Secretary of State Chris Benge.
Rubio’s prominent backers in the state business community include Larry Nichols, Fred Hall, David Rainbolt, Bob Funk, Sr., Dana Weber, Francis Rooney and Tom Love.