Sen. Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who is known more for his hardline policy stands than his political endorsements, on Wednesday took sides in one of the country’s most publicized Republican Senate primary races.
Coburn endorsed former state House Speaker Marco Rubio for the Florida Senate and and slammed Gov. Charlie Crist for supporting President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill passed last year.
“From the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ to the ‘Woodstock Museum,’ I’ve fought all kinds of wasteful spending throughout my career,” Coburn said in a statement e-mailed by the Rubio campaign. “But in my lifetime, I’ve never seen as wasteful a spending project as the failed $787 billion stimulus bill that Marco’s opponents supported.”
Coburn added that he has “closely studied Florida’s Senate candidates and have no doubt that Marco Rubio is the only fiscal conservative in this race.”
The endorsement is a blow for Crist, who was once the clear front-runner in the race with huge leads in fundraising and the polls. However, Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, has become a poster-boy of sorts for the Tea Party movement and is now viewed as the likely Republican primary winner.