Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of the most staunchly conservative members of the Senate, officially rolled out his endorsement today of Marco Rubio in the 2010 Florida Senate race -- going against the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the rest of the GOP leadership, who are supporting the more moderate Gov. Charlie Crist.
DeMint said at a Washington press conference, alongside Rubio, that he was "convinced" the conservative insurgent candidate can beat Crist, who currently has a huge lead in all the polls. DeMint also said that he hoped his announcement will encourage other conservatives to back Rubio. "I don't think there's been any effort by the leadership to intimate anyone one way or another, I certainly haven't felt," said DeMint, "so I think you'll see some senators, and I know some House members, jumping in behind Marco."
The stimulus program is expected to be a major issue in this primary -- or at least it will be, if Rubio, a former Florida state House Speaker, has anything to say about it. Crist broke with the overwhelming majority of Republicans to support the bill, while Rubio remains firmly against it.