Inhofe endorses Rubio for GOP nomination
WASHINGTON _ Sen. Jim Inhofe endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination on Saturday, becoming the second Oklahoman in Congress to back the first-term Florida lawmaker.
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, called Rubio “a solid conservative” and said he would be the strongest Republican candidate against Hillary Clinton if the former secretary of state secures the Democratic nomination.
Inhofe, who has been in the Senate since 1994, is perhaps best known as the most vocal skeptic in Congress of man-made global warming. He is also a defense hawk and a booster of federal spending on roads and other public works projects; he is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee.
He backed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the GOP nomination four years ago.
“Marco and I have shared, similar values, such as working for a smaller federal government and putting an end to wasteful spending,” Inhofe said in a prepared statement.
“At the same time, we both recognize the need for the United States to be a global leader and that it requires a well-supported, world-class military that can safely and effectively answer when called upon.
“As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco consistently demonstrates that he understands what it will take to keep America safe and to rebuild our place of leadership in the world. He is also one of the most informed and most knowledgeable critics of the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy, not only regarding ISIS in the Middle East, but across the globe.
“Marco has demonstrated sound judgment in knowing who our allies are and who they are not.”
Inhofe also endorsed Rubio’s positions on overhauling the Veterans Affairs Department, repealing the Affordable Care Act, reducing federal involvement in public education and rolling back environmental regulations.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, has also endorsed Rubio, who has the backing of several state lawmakers in Oklahoma.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, in the GOP race.
The other four members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation have not endorsed a candidate.
Oklahoma’s presidential primaries are set for March 1, when 10 states are holding Republican and Democratic contests.