GOP Establishment is challenging both Republican front-runners, Trump and Cruz.
THE STATE | By Andrew Shain: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will win South Carolina’s most Republican coveted endorsement of the 2016 presidential race when Gov. Nikki Haley announces her support at a Chapin rally on Wednesday evening, a source with knowledge of the governor’s decision told The State.
Haley, the state’s most popular GOP politician in polls, has decided to back the establishment candidate considered to be in best position to challenge Republican front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Haley’s decision was a bit of a reversal in the past day. The governor told reporters Tuesday that she had not made up her mind on who to back in the 2016 race. She endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race.
Haley has become a favorite to make vice presidential short lists after her handling of last year’s Charleston shooting and successful call to remove the Confederate flag from the S.C. State House grounds. She gave the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union last month.
The governor’s endorsement comes at a critical time for Rubio. The Florida senator needs momentum in South Carolina after finishing fifth in New Hampshire after a rattled debate performance. Rubio trails Trump and Cruz in the Palmetto State with three days ahead of the S.C. GOP presidential primary on Saturday.
Haley joins U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Spartanburg Republican who heads a special panel investigating the Benghazi attack, in endorsing Rubio.
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