MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Donald Trump’s insurgent, front-running campaign has shocked Republican Party loyalists.

Trump, whose candidacy many Republican leaders once considered a joke, is poised, if he does as well as some polls predict on Super Tuesday, to all but lock up the nomination.

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But the Republican establishment is fighting.

In the past few weeks, there has been a wave of endorsements nationally and here in Minnesota for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Many establishment Republicans believe Rubio is the only candidate who can not only stop Trump but also win the presidency in November.

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One of those is former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

“Somebody is going to have to beat Donald Trump in one of these states coming up pretty soon…and I think that is going to be Marco Rubio,” he said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “And by the way, the opportunities in that regard include his home state of Florida, with a motherload of delegates.”

The former governor said that Minnesota, with its caucus system, could also give Rubio a surprise boost.

Still, Republican leaders and many political analysts are asking: Is this effort to stop Trump coming too late?

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The answer is something they — and Donald Trump — may get on Super Tuesday.

Esme Murphy