Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida,delights supporters as he enters a rally at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., on Sunday. Don Petersen Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida,delights supporters as he enters a rally at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., on Sunday. Don Petersen Associated Press

Prairie Politics

Insider dispatches from our writers on politics in Wichita, Topeka and Washington.

Prairie Politics

Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes endorses Rubio

February 29, 2016 09:59 AM

UPDATED February 29, 2016 10:03 AM

Add State Treasurer Ron Estes to the list of prominent Kansas Republicans who are supporting Sen. Marco Rubio for president.

Estes’ endorsement comes less than a week before Saturday’s Kansas presidential caucuses and comes on the heels of endorsements for the Florida senator from Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Mike Pompeo.

Estes, a Wichita Republican, pointed to Rubio’s stance on higher education as being the primary reason he’s decided to back the candidate.

“More than any other candidate, Marco Rubio has shown a passion for reining in the rising cost of higher education. Marco continuously demonstrates a desire to modernize an education system that has left far too many students unable to start their adult lives on solid financial footing,” Estes said in a statement.

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Rubio’s higher education plan includes proposals to change the accreditation process to accommodate “non-traditional education” and to establish income-based student loan repayment as the universal method for paying off student loans, according to the candidate’s website.

Despite the support from Estes and other statewide officials Rubio is trailing billionaire Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, according to a poll released by Fort Hays State University on Friday, which found Rubio polling at 13 percent among Kansas Republican voters compared to Trump at 26 percent and Cruz at 14 percent.

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3