(AP) – Missouri’s Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Smith is backing presidential hopeful Marco Rubio.
Smith said in a statement Thursday that the country needs a “new generation of leadership” and said Rubio has his full support.
Rubio is touting himself as a fresh face for the GOP and won his Senate seat in 2010 as a tea party favorite.
Smith also was elected with some tea party backing when voters picked him in a special election in 2013 to represent southeast Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
Smith’s endorsement of Rubio follows public support from state House Speaker Todd Richardson, another prominent Missouri politician.
Richardson is chairman of Rubio’s campaign in Missouri.