AUGUSTA — About 25 Republican state lawmakers said Thursday they were supporting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s bid to become their party’s nominee in the 2016 presidential race.

Cruz bested front-running Republican candidate Donald Trump during voting in the Iowa caucuses Monday. 

Among those offering their support to Cruz was Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls. Mason, who serves as the majority leader in the state Senate, said he was proud to offer his support to Cruz.

“It is very exciting for us to be able to stand here and endorse a true conservative,” Mason said. “We need a strong, principled conservative leader to take our country back from where we have been over the last eight years.”

Other local lawmakers from Androscoggin and Oxford counties who joined Mason in supporting Cruz included Sen. James Hamper, R-Oxford and Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon.

In January, a band of Democratic state lawmakers offered their support to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.

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