6 California lawmakers and San Diego mayor back Marco Rubio for president

Seven California Republicans are throwing their support behind Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign. 

The “California Co-chairs,” a mix of local leaders and state lawmakers, will act as surrogates for the Florida Republican at a critical time before the nation's first voting starts in the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1. The California primary is June 5.

The Rubio campaign said the co-chairs are San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and state Sens. Jim Nielsen of Gerber, Jeff Stone of Temecula, Andy Vidak of Hanford and Pat Bates of Laguna Niguel, Assemblyman Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto, the former GOP Assembly leader.

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"If Marco hasn't secured the nomination by June, it's good to know that we have a strong organization of conservatives in California,” Rubio spokesman Caitlin Conant told the Los Angeles Times.

In quotes provided by the campaign, the seven Californians praise Rubio’s “foresight” and “vision” and say he’ll make the “American dream” accessible to everyone.

“Marco Rubio has a gift that few since California's own Ronald Reagan have embodied: the ability to bring Americans of all backgrounds together to solve our country's problems. He is a once-in-a-generation leader that our country needs,” Nielsen said in a statement.

Over the last few weeks, Rubio has announced similar teams in North Carolina and South Carolina. Politico reported earlier this week that the campaign is seeking larger space for its Capitol Hill headquarters after doubling the size of its payroll since Oct. 1.

California Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) have endorsed Rubio’s presidential bid.

The senator has drawn criticism in recent weeks for missing votes to campaign. He defended himself by saying he's too busy running for president to show up for votes that “don’t count” in hopelessly “broken” Washington.

Twitter: @sarahdwire

Read more about the 55 members of California's delegation at latimes.com/politics.


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