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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson Endorses Romney, Former Packer Backs Santorum

4/2/2012 11:13 AM ET

Mitt Romney has scored another big endorsement ahead of Tuesday's primary in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a freshman senator who initially said he would not endorse any candidate, made his announcement on NBC's "Meet the Press" after "long conversations" with the former Massachusetts governor in recent weeks led him to his decision.

"I've come away from those conversations fully convinced that Governor Romney is the person to lead our party, to lead our nation," Johnson said on NBC. "He fully understands the gravity of our financial situation. He's dedicated toward solving those problems. He is ready, willing and able to lead this nation, unlike President Obama. So today I'm happy to announce my full support and my endorsement of Governor Romney to be the next President of the United States."

Backing from Johnson, a favorite among tea party supporters, gives Romney more support from the group he's been working hard to win over.

Johnson's support follows that of fellow Wisconsin Sen. Paul Ryan, who endorsed Romney last week.

"I'm proud to have earned the support of Senator Ron Johnson," Romney said in a statement.

Meanwhile, rival Rick Santorum hopes that public support from former Green Bay Packers defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila can help him spring an upset on Romney.

"Football taught me a lot," Gbaja-Biamila said. "One of the game's greatest lessons is that we play to win, and we play until it is over. I am endorsing Rick Santorum for president because he is a solid leader that represents the timeless values that made America good and prosperous. Rick Santorum is also the only person who can beat Barack Obama in November. While some may want to declare the game over, the reality is, it's not even half-time yet. 'Game on!'"

Polls show Santorum trailing Romney by widening margin heading into the crucial primary. Analysts say a convincing win could all but sew up the Republican nomination for Romney.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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