Romney touts big endorsements as some Republicans urge end to primary

Holly Bailey
The Ticket

Mitt Romney is touting a series of endorsements from high profile Republicans in an effort to cast himself as the inevitable winner of the GOP nomination and bring the primary to a close.

On Monday, the Romney campaign announced the backing of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union. In their endorsements, all three called for the party to "unite" behind Romney's candidacy.

"After a long and grueling primary, it is clear that Mitt Romney is the best candidate to face President Obama and fix the mess of his one and only term," McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement. "Republicans need to unite and work together if we plan to take back the White House and put in place policies that will get our nation back on a path to prosperity by reducing taxes, shrinking government and empowering the private sector."

In an op-ed published by the Daily Caller, Cardenas said that taking the fight to the party's August convention, as Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have threatened to do, is not a "worthy endeavor," and he insisted that "their time is over" in the race.

"Every week the primary continues, Republican chances for victory in November diminish because our sights are not set on our chief goal—defeating President Obama," Cardenas wrote.

But Romney's biggest boost could be from Lee, a first term senator who is a member of the Senate's Tea Party Caucus. In 2010, Lee defeated incumbent Sen. Bill Bennett in an upset victory at Utah's Republican caucuses. Romney had endorsed Bennett in the race, but Lee appears not to hold a grudge.

"This is a pretty critical year. There are big decisions for the country to make and … I think we would be well advised as Republicans to start getting behind our eventual nominee," Lee told the Salt Lake Tribune's Thomas Burr. "I think we're now reaching the point where we can see prolonging this process further could undermine our ability to get a Republican candidate elected, and it could also distract from getting our Senate candidates elected."

The endorsements come just days after Romney spent a day off the trail in Washington meeting with undecided Republican members of the House and Senate in hopes of securing their support.

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