[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/20/art.cristmccain.gi.jpg caption=" Crist's support was crucial for McCain in the state's Republican presidential primary last year."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist endorsed John McCain the weekend before McCain won the state's pivotal Republican primary last year, a victory that may very well have sealed the GOP nomination for the Arizona senator.
On Wednesday, John McCain returned the favor.
"Today I am pleased to endorse Charlie Crist for the United States Senate," McCain said in a statement released by Crist's campaign.
"Now more than ever, we need leaders who are committed to lower taxes, limiting government spending, and fighting for the people are needed in Washington," he said.
McCain is the latest top Republican to endorse Crist's Senate bid as party leaders in Washington look to avoid a difficult primary battle in Florida. Crist is facing an intra-party challenge from former state House speaker Marco Rubio, but according to a new Mason-Dixon poll, Crist leads Rubio by 35 points.
Full statement after the jump
Senator John McCain Endorses Charlie Crist for Senate
Tallahassee-The Charlie Crist for Senate Campaign today announced the endorsement of United States Senator John McCain.
"Today I am pleased to endorse Charlie Crist for the United States Senate," said Senator McCain. "Now more than ever, we need leaders who are committed to lower taxes, limiting government spending, and fighting for the people are needed in Washington."
"As Governor, Charlie Crist has demonstrated his commitment to these fiscally conservative principles by delivering the largest tax cut in Florida history, reducing government spending, and focusing on the issues that are important to Floridians," continued Senator McCain. "I was proud to have had Charlie's support in my campaign, and I am proud to support him in his campaign. I am proud to call him my friend and look forward to calling him my colleague."