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Republican Michigan gubernatorial hopeful Patrick Colbeck won the backing of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Colbeck’s campaign said Wednesday.

Colbeck, a state senator from Canton Township, was an early supporter of Cruz’s 2016 GOP presidential campaign and now the Texas senator is returning the favor. Cruz finished second in Michigan’s March 2016 Republican primary behind President Donald Trump.

“He is exactly the sort of principled leader the citizens of Michigan need,” Cruz said in a statement, according to a Colbeck campaign release.

Colbeck worked as a state chairman for Cruz during the Texas U.S. senator’s presidential primary bid. Colbeck later urged voters to back Trump in the general election.

Fox News host Sean Hannity and former General Motors Vice Chairman and ex-Chrysler President Bob Lutz have also endorsed Colbeck for governor.

Lutz said in December that he’ll be working as Colbeck’s finance chairman as he tries to boost low fund-raising totals in his primary run against higher-profile candidates Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Another GOP candidate is Saginaw obstetrician Jim Hines.

Late this year, Colbeck was not doing well compared with Schuette and Calley in courting Republican donors, a key sign of campaign health.

Colbeck has run into trouble with Republican leadership in Michigan and compares his party status to Cruz’s, portraying himself as a rebel rather than a pariah.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, in early October removed Colbeck from all the state Senate committees he served on. Colbeck blasted the Senate leader’s move as a “petty political response” to his run for governor.

mgerstein@detroitnews.com

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