Rubio seeks to turn momentum from endorsements, fundraising into votes

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Rubio Looks Forward To Teaming With Santorum

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Marco Rubio has more reasons to smile after his strong showing in Iowa, with a cascade of endorsements supporting his case that he's the only viable GOP alternative to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, Rubio's campaign announced raising $2 million in the day following his stronger-than-expected third-place win in the Iowa caucuses.

Rubio also picked up the endorsements of seven current and former elected officials, including three prominent Pennsylvanians — Sen. Pat Toomey, Rep. Glenn Thompson, who will endorse him officially on Thursday, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who endorsed Rubio on Fox News after announcing he was dropping his own bid for president.

Rubio got the backing of popular Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina on Tuesday, and will announce Rep. Lynn Westmoreland's endorsement on Thursday.

That gives Rubio nine new endorsements this week — 35 total — pushing the Florida senator's tally past his rival, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who had held the most endorsements of any Republican in the race — 31 — until this week.

See more of ​Marco Rubio on the campaign trail:

50 PHOTOS
Marco Rubio on the campaign trail
See Gallery
Rubio seeks to turn momentum from endorsements, fundraising into votes
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at a campaign rally in Sanford, Fla., Monday, March 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., shakes hands at a rally in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., bows his head in prayer at a campaign rally in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Sunday, March 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., smiles at a campaign rally, Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., addresses supporters at a rally at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. pauses while addressing the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at a campaign event to the Sun City community in Bluffton, S.C., on Thursday Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. boards a plane with his family and staff to leave Manchester, N.H., Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016, en route to South Carolina after the New Hampshire primary. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
IN FLIGHT - FEBRUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks with reporters on his charter flight from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport February 10, 2016 en route to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Rubio placed fifth in the New Hampshire primary, behind fellow GOP candidates Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump, who swept away the competition with 35-percent of the vote. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks to the media during a visit to a polling site at Bedford High School, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Bedford, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., works to charge up a crowd during a campaign stop in a high school cafeteria, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Londonderry, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Jessie Lemire, 12, of Candia, N.H., takes a photo with Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as he greets people during a campaign stop at Puritan Backroom Restaurant, during a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., Monday Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. leaves a campaign stop, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, at Morseâs Sporting Goods in Hillsboro, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. reaches out for a handshake during a town hall campaign stop, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee town hall in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
MT PLEASANT, SC - JANUARY 13: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets guests during a campaign rally at the Water Dog Grill on January 13, 2016 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Tomorrow Rubio will join other candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president for a debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in North Charleston, S.C.. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. smiles as he talks to members of the media following his speaking at Rastrelli's Tuscany Special Events Center in Clinton, Iowa, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives with his wife Jeanette Dousdebes, right, and their daughter Daniella, 13, to speak at the Maytag Innovation Center in Newton, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, waits to speak during a town hall meeting at the Maytag Innovation Center in Newton, Iowa, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. Rubio found himself under siege on two fronts Tuesday over his attendance record in the U.S. Senate as the Florida lawmaker embarked on a swing through snowy Iowa. Photographer: Scott Morgan/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., points to a potential supporter for a question during a campaign stop in Rochester, N.H. As 2015 wanes, the Florida senator is back in Iowa on Tuesday, Dec. 29, for a multi-day swing, hoping to shore up support and finish in the top tier of candidates in the Feb. 1 caucuses. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks during a campaign stop at Weiler Manufacturing, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, in Knoxville, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., greets workers during a campaign stop at Weiler Manufacturing, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, in Knoxville, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets people before speaking during a community rally for 'Never Again' which was bringing attention to what the organizers say is a rise in worldwide anti-Semitism and the campaign against Israel's right to exist on November 15, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida. Rubio continues to campaign for the Republican party's nomination. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - NOVEMBER 21: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to guests during a town hall meeting on November 21, 2015 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Yesterday Rubio participated in the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines with six of his Republican rivals for the nomination. Rubio has several campaign stops scheduled in the state today. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council meetings in Washington, DC, November 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at the Sunshine Summit opening dinner at Disney's Contemporary Resort on November 12, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.The dinner is the kick-off of a three-day event that will draw thousands of Republicans, mostly to hear live speeches from all the GOP presidential candidates on Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Tom Benitez - Pool/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks during the Sunshine Summit conference being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 13, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The summit brought Republican presidential candidates in front of the Republican voters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Rubio will appear at Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CONCORD, NH - NOVEMBER 05: Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) files paperwork for the New Hampshire primary at the State House on November 5, 2015 in Concord, New Hampshire. Each candidate must file paperwork to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot, which will be held February 9, 2016. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio leaves the New Hampshire State House after filing for the state ballot November 5, 2015 in Concord, New Hampshire. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 4: Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) participates in a round table discussion at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Rubio is looking for a bump in the polls following a strong outing in the last debate. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during an event at a restaurant Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Las Vegas. Rubio is scheduled to attend events in the Las Vegas area through Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
GREENVILLE, SC - SEPTEMBER 18: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to voters at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum September 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Eleven republican candidates each had twenty five minutes to talk to voters Friday at the Bons Secours Wellness arena in the upstate of South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at Civic Hall about the 'sharing economy' on October 6, 2015 in New York City. Rubio, who has been experiencing a slight uptick in the polls after strong debate performances, has a second book out in paperback this Tuesday called American Dream: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks with students Anabelle, and Gregory Watson during a campaign stop at Robie's Country Store Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., smiles as he speaks to supporters at an outdoor restaurant in the Santurce district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The U.S. territory must find its own way to get its financial house in order, Rubio wrote in an op-ed published in Spanish Friday in El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico's largest newspaper. The Florida Republican opposes efforts to allow Puerto Rico to use bankruptcy laws to deal with a staggering $72 billion debt. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a campaign stop at the VFW, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Littleton, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 26: GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., holds a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 18: Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (L) (R-FL) mans the grill with U.S. Rep. David Young (R) (R-IA) at the Iowa Pork Producers Pork Tent during the Iowa State Fair on August 18, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - August 17: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., greets supporters during a Family Night event at Dean Park in Ankeny, Iowa, Monday, August 17, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 14: Marco Rubio gives speach for the Foreign Policy Initiative at 3 West Club on August 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/WireImage)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) participates in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 05: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets guests gathered for a campaign event at Town Hall on August 5, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Rubio is in Cleveland to participate in the Fox News GOP presidential candidate debate scheduled to take place tomorrow evening. The top ten polling Republican candidates were chosen to participate in the debate. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, smiles while speaking during a rally at Town Hall restaurant ahead of the Fox News Republican Presidential Primary Debate in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Rubio will appear on stage with 9 other presidential candidates for the first Republican presidential debate tomorrow evening while former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal didn't make the cut. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and 2016 presidential candidate, speaks during the Faith and Freedom Coalition's 'Road to Majority' legislative luncheon in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 18, 2015. The annual Faith & Freedom Coalition Policy Conference gives top-tier presidential contenders as well as long shots a chance to compete for the large evangelical Christian base in the crowded Republican primary contest. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BOONE, IA - JUNE 06: Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) waits his turn to speak at a Roast and Ride event hosted by freshman Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) on June 6, 2015 in Boone, Iowa. Ernst is hoping the event, which featured a motorcycle tour, a pig roast, and speeches from several 2016 presidential hopefuls, becomes an Iowa Republican tradition. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MAY 09: Republican Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) greets supporters at the Freedom Summit on May 9, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Rubio joined eleven other potential candidates in addressing the event hosted by conservative group Citizens United. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NASHUA, NH - APRIL 17: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 17, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Summit brought together local and national Republicans and was attended by all the Republicans candidates as well as those eyeing a run for the nomination. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida makes a formal announcement that he is entering the 2016 Presidential race at the Freedom Tower on April 13, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photos by Charles Ommanney for the Washington Post)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Taken together, the endorsements and fundraising are certain to continue boosting the momentum Rubio received from his Iowa finish, already evident in bigger-than-ever crowds for the senator across New Hampshire this week.

Rubio's good week heading into the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday puts extra pressure on Bush, once considered by many to be the establishment front-runner but now a trailing candidate whose hopes of continuing on in the presidential race hinge in large part on his performance in the New England primary.

The endorsements from brand-name politicians have also fueled Rubio's pitch that he's the one candidate that can unite the GOP and defeat Democrats.

The endorsements came from both a staunch conservative — Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — and a moderate-leaning senator in a tough swing-state reelection fight this year, in Toomey.

Rubio's campaign is selling the broad range of support as evidence both conservatives and moderates see Rubio as a safe pick, one that won't turn off either the base or the swing voters and that will be key to GOP hopes of both winning the White House and holding onto the Senate next fall.

Indeed, Rubio on Wednesday night continued to pitch himself as the candidate to expand the GOP tent, and one that, in doing so, would help the party win in tough states.

Read the 10 Rubio facts you should know:

11 PHOTOS
10 Facts About Marco Rubio
See Gallery
Rubio seeks to turn momentum from endorsements, fundraising into votes

1. His parents, Mario and Oria, are Cuban immigrants.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2. Attended Tarkio College for one year on a football scholarship before he later transferred to Santa Fe College.

(Photo by Phil Coale/AP)

3. When he was sworn into office in 2011, he said that he owed $100,000 of student loans which he finally paid off in 2012.

(Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

4. His wife of 17 years, Jeanette, is of Colombian descent and was once a Miami Dolphins cheerleader.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

5. He went viral with a sip of water. Rubio gave the official Republican reaction to the State of the Union in 2013, but the only detail most people remembered was the moment in which he became so parched that he reached for a water bottle to quench his thirst.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

6. Though he was baptized as an infant in the Catholic church, he was also baptized as Mormon later in childhood when his family lived in Las Vegas. He is now a practicing Catholic.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

7. He teaches political science at Florida International University in Miami.

(Photo by Charles Ommanney for the Washington Post via Getty)

8. He says the first concert he ever attended was a Prince show.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

9. His family used to call him Tony, which came from his middle name Antonio.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

10. Was speaker of the Florida House before he was a U.S. Senator.

(Photo by Phil Coale/AP)

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

"I know we'll win, and we'll win in places like Michigan, we'll win in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida — New Hampshire! I want to win this state twice," he told supporters at a town hall in Dover.

Scant polling has been released since the Iowa caucuses, so it's difficult to say yet whether the momentum reflected in fundraising and energetic crowds is translating to broader support for Rubio in the Granite State. If he is indeed on the upswing, he's certain to face a showdown with the party's front-runner in the state — Donald Trump, who's led most New Hampshire polling by double-digit margins.

On Wednesday, Rubio refused to take aim at any of his opponents aside from Cruz, dodging a question on Trump's claim that the Iowa caucuses were rigged to instead answer with an attack on Cruz over reports his supporters spread rumors Ben Carson had left the race at caucus sites.

Rubio also declined to flaunt his growing momentum to other establishment-minded candidates that are still struggling to gain traction. When asked by NBC News' Gabe Gutierrez whether he planned to deliver a "knockout blow" to Jeb Bush, Rubio said only, "I just want to do as well as we possibly can here in New Hampshire."

"We're going to keep working hard, it's not — I'm not running against any of the other candidates in this race, I'm running for president," he said.

More from NBC News:
Cruz Digs at Trump: My Kids Are Better Behaved
Judge Won't Stop Cosby Trial Due to Old 'Deal'
Medicaid Births Rose When Texas Cut Planned Parenthood

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners