Local politicians gather in Knoxville to endorse Marco Rubio for president

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Almost a dozen current and former local politicians gathered at Volunteer Landing Wednesday to endorse the presidential candidacy of Senator Marco Rubio.

Political science professor Dr. Mark O’Gorman says having all these local politicians endorse Rubio could mean a big boost for his campaign.

Former Knoxville mayor and former ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe believes Rubio is the best candidate to become president.

Related coverage: 2016 Election

“His position on foreign policy issues a position of strength, a position of the US once again resuming a role of leadership in the world really resonates with me,” said Ashe.

State Senator Becky Duncan Massey also endorses Rubio.

“I really think that Senator Rubio is kind of a young Ronald Reagan and he’s positive and he can move this country forward,” said Massey.

Eight others, including former congressman Zach Wamp, former Knox County mayor Mike Ragsdale and Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters, were there to officially support Rubio for president.

WATE 6 On Your Side asked Dr. Mark O’Gorman professor of political science at Maryville College what these means for Rubio.

“That usually will ensure that Rubio will have greater voter turnout in Tennessee just because those people are going to be calling up their friends and their cluster of friends and saying, ‘Hey go vote for Rubio,’” said Dr. O’Gorman.

O’Gorman says a win in Tennessee could mean a better chance of getting the nomination.

“A candidate knows if they win Tennessee they can use it as a good calling card to say, ‘Hey I can do well in the future,’” said O’Gorman.

Dr. O’Gorman says with Tennessee playing a major role on Super Tuesday on March 1, Rubio will probably be in the state a couple of times and the candidates’ political ads will likely feature the local politicians.

“To actually have one of those endorsed candidates walk with a Marco Rubio in a neighborhood in Knoxville or a neighborhood in Nashville really ensures they can get those primary voters to come out,” said Dr. O’Gorman.

Zack Wamp is the chair of the state campaign team for Marco Rubio. He says Rubio will be visiting Tennessee a couple more times by March 1. Wamp is going to New Hampshire soon to campaign for Rubio.

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