WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Orlando Sentinel endorsed Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton for their respective parties’ nominations on Friday, nearly two weeks before the state holds its Republican and Democratic primaries.
In backing Rubio, the Sentinel said it could be “the last chance for party voters to throw up a roadblock in billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s march to the GOP nomination.” It said the Florida senator, unlike Trump, “has the knowledge and judgment to be president.”
“(Trump) has maligned Mexican immigrants and Muslims. He has mocked people with disabilities and prisoners of war. He has disparaged and degraded women,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.
The Sentinel also knocked presidential hopeful Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“Ted Cruz is an ideologue known for leading the 2013 government shutdown. He’s so toxic that not even one of his Senate colleagues has stepped forward to endorse him. Nor would we,” the paper wrote.
As for Clinton, the Sentinel said her qualifications outweighed those of her rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Before serving as President Obama’s first secretary of state, Clinton was twice elected a U.S. senator from New York. She was known as a hard worker in the Senate who was willing to reach across the aisle,” the paper wrote. “According to a Washington Post analysis, she got more legislation approved in the Senate during her eight years than Sanders has, combined, during nearly a decade in the Senate and 16 years in the House.”
The Sentinel acknowledged, however, that Clinton is a “polarizing figure.”
“She has made some big mistakes, such as using a private email server as secretary of state. But there might be no more battle-tested presidential candidate than Clinton. She is much better prepared than Sanders to be an effective commander in chief, and has a far more realistic set of goals,” the endorsement read.
The Sentinel’s endorsements come one day after the Miami Herald also endorsed Rubio and Clinton.
Floridians will cast their primary ballots on March 15.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the nature of the Sentinel’s endorsement of Rubio.