‘New Kid on the Block’ Donnie Wahlberg Endorses Marco Rubio

Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP/Bobby Bank/GC Images

Actor and former musician Donnie Wahlberg has officially endorsed Marco Rubio for president ahead of the Nevada caucus on Tuesday.

In a statement released by the Rubio campaign, the Blue Bloods star and founding member of boy band New Kids on the Block called the Florida senator a “man of principle” and said a Rubio presidency would “unite our nation.”

Wahlberg is expected to join Sen. Dean Heller, Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison and Rep. Jason Chaffetz at a rally for Rubio on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

“Even though we do not see eye to eye on every issue, I know that Marco is a man of principle who can be trusted to keep us safe and give each and every one of us a shot at the American Dream,” Wahlberg said in a statement. “Marco is a humble man who has not forgotten his roots, and he will fight to make sure that where you come from does not determine how far you can go. We need a leader like Marco to inspire a new Republican party and unite our nation, and I am proud to support him for President.”

Wahlberg’s endorsement comes as Rubio hopes for a strong showing in Nevada on Tuesday following his second-place finish in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Nevada poll averages show Republican frontrunner Donald Trump with a commanding 20-point lead in the state ahead of Tuesday’s contest.

On Thursday, Wahlberg joined his brothers Mark and Paul at the grand opening of a 6,000-square-foot Wahlburgers restaurant in Rubio’s home state of Florida. The Orlando outpost of the famous brothers’ fast-casual burger joint chain joins locations in the Northeast and Toronto. A location on the Las Vegas strip is expected to open soon.

While most Hollywood support has gone to Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and to a lesser extent Donald Trump, a few celebrities have backed Rubio’s campaign, including billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Pawn Stars star Rick Harrison.