LITTLE ROCK — Nearly 30 Arkansas elected officials announced their support for presidential candidate Marco Rubio during a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol.

LITTLE ROCK — Nearly 30 Arkansas elected officials announced their support for presidential candidate Marco Rubio during a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol.


Among Rubio’s supporters in the state Legislature are several who previously endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, including Reps. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren; Karilyn Brown, R-Sherwood; Laurie Rushing, R-Hot Springs; Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs; and Prissy Hickerson, R-Texarkana. Huckabee dropped out of the race Feb. 1.


Rubio’s Arkansas leadership team also includes Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin; U.S. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro; former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson; Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe; Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren, R-Gravette; and House Majority Leader Ken Bragg, R-Sheridan, among others.


"He can unite us to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, and we know that he’s going to do well here on March 1," said state Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, Rubio’s state chairman.


Bragg said the Florida senator "has the appeal across a broad spectrum of the populace that will result in bringing not only our party together but our country together and result in a victory over whichever Democratic candidate it is, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders."


Dismang said Rubio "has demonstrated himself to be a leader in the state Legislature in Florida and then in the U.S. Senate, and I think he’s got the demeanor and the personality and the willingness to work in D.C. I think he’s the direction we should be going inside this primary."


Hester said he was confident Rubio would visit the state soon but did not announce a date.