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Newsmax has learned that conservative Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio has pledged to support the pro-liberty, anti-tax agenda known as Contract From America, which appears to be emerging as a major political force in the midterm elections.
In an e-mail response to Newsmax, Rubio, a Republican, confirmed that he has signed the contract, which presents 10 key platform planks that promote "individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom."
“I’m proud to sign the Contract From America, which is a restatement of the principles and values that have made America exceptional for centuries and that are needed in Washington today," Rubio's e-mail stated Thursday. "At a time when Washington is spending money that we don’t even have to expand government, the Contract From America is a reminder that America deserves leaders who will be a check and balance on the direction this president and Congress are pursuing.”
Several high-profile Republicans have joined Rubio in signing the contract during the past 48 hours, including Senate candidate Dan Coats of Indiana, Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida, and Senate candidate Ken Buck of Colorado.
"Due to your efforts, these candidates have chosen to be champions of Main Street values and have joined with you in signing the Contract From America," declared a post on the group's Web site, TheContract.org.
But Rubio's commitment lends the contract perhaps its highest-profile supporter among those running in November.
"We're very pleased," tea party activist and Houston attorney Ryan Hecker, who originally came up with the Contract concept, tells Newsmax. "By signing the Contract From America, Marco Rubio is saying he's listening, he's really adopted this very Main Street agenda. He's saying this is a powerful grassroots document, that is very much a mainstream document, that should be adopted for everyone. It should be helpful to him in the general election race, but beyond that it represents the values of a majority of Americans."
FreedomWorks, the D.C.-based facilitator of the conservative grass-roots movement sweeping the nation, also heralded Rubio's decision to sign onto the contract.
"This just confirms the grass-roots instincts in backing Rubio” over Gov. Charlie Crist, FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon tells Newsmax. "It shows that he's dead serious about policy. If he's elected to the Senate, you can bet he'll be a policy innovator, and that's just what this country needs. In the coming budget battle, it's not going to be policy for the timid, and he's shown that he's a leader."
A Rasmussen Reports poll on Thursday showed that Rubio has taken a 36 percent-to-34 percent lead over Christ, who left the Republican Party to become an independent after it became clear that his chances of defeating Rubio in a GOP primary were slim. Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek is running a distant third with 15 percent, according to Rasmussen.
Rubio's commitment means that more than 130 candidates have now signed onto the list of 10 key principles, which are designed to reduce the pervasive influence of the federal government in the lives of everyday citizens — rapid progress, considering the fact that the contract was unveiled only on April 15.
"We're more getting candidates every day," Ryan Hecker, the tea party activist who came up with the contract concept, tells Newsmax.
The contract urges members of Congress to cite the specific clause in the Constitution that gives them authority to pass any new legislation. It rejects cap and trade, which it says will hurt the nation's economy and global competitiveness. It aims for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, and would require a two-thirds majority to pass any tax hike.
Grass-roots conservatives hope the Contract From America will have a major impact not only on which candidates win their parties' nominations but also on who wins in November.
In addition to Rubio, other big names on the list of signatories include Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Utah GOP Senate candidate Mike Lee; and Nevada's Sharron Angle, the GOP Senate candidate challenging Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid.
The contract’s objective is to influence the outcome of the midterm elections, just as the Contract with America did in 1994. The difference: This contract originated from members of the grass-roots movement itself, rather than from GOP politicians. More than 365,000 participants completed online voting forms to help determine its position planks.
"This document really represents an outsider grassroots local way of doing things," Hecker tells Newsmax. "I think it could really change the way Washington works. It really shows that it was created by the people, it was voted on by the people in a very democratic process, and right now it's being pushed by the grass roots from the outside. It's not an insider document.
"I think that's were politics in general should be moving, away from party-centric, Washington-centric politics and more toward the local and grassroots," he says.
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