(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Tuesday scored a major endorsement in a crucial early voting state.
The former Massachusetts governor, who is making his second bid for the GOP nomination, won the backing of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
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"Mitt Romney is a tested conservative and a proven leader. With him in the White House, we can regain our standing abroad and repair our economy at home," said the former congressman who may in the future make a bid for Sunshine State governor.
Florida's become a major player in the battle for the GOP nomination. State Republicans will hold their primary on January 31, voting fifth in the primary and caucus calendar.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.