Political bedfellows

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley endorses Marco Rubio in 2016 race

Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley on January 14, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

This post has been updated.

Just three days ahead of the South Carolina primary, Nikki Haley endorsed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, saying he is “humble enough to remember he works for all the people” at a campaign event on Wednesday evening. The endorsement is a major victory for Rubio as Haley is a supremely popular figure in the Palmetto State. In December, a poll showed she enjoyed an 81 percent approval rating among constituents. Last month, as many political rising stars often are, Haley was selected to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address. During her speech, Haley spoke out in veiled terms against the divisiveness of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. A day later in television interviews, she confirmed Trump was the subject of her criticism. Haley will join Rubio on the campaign trail through Saturday when voters in the state go to the polls in the nation’s second primary.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio greets supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina January 9, 2016, ahead of the state's March 15 primary. (REUTERS/Jonathan Drake)

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio greets supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina January 9, 2016, ahead of the state’s March 15 primary. (REUTERS/Jonathan Drake)

Haley has been bandied about by observers as a possible 2016 running mate. Her backing was a highly sought-after endorsement among the GOP field. Jeb Bush, who has supported Haley and raised funds for her in the past, was lobbying for her endorsement. Nevertheless, Rubio, bolstered by his third-place finish in the Iowa Caucus, has emerged as the strongest establishment candidate vying for the party’s nomination. In 2012, Haley endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who went on to win the GOP nomination, but lost to President Obama in the general election. Haley is expected to announce the endorsement in a speech on Wednesday night.

During her remarks, Haley said of her choice to back Rubio, “I wanted somebody who could show my parents that the best decision they ever made for their children was coming to America.” Like Rubio, Haley is a first-generation American. “If we elect Marco Rubio, every day will be a great day in America,” she said. The Rubio campaign is hopeful Haley’s endorsement will give his campaign a boost heading into the primary on Saturday. A CNN/ORC poll released this week showed Rubio in third place with 14 percent of support among South Carolina voters, a distant 24 percentage points behind frontrunner Donald Trump.

Interestingly, a rudimentary website called RubioHaley2016.com has been launched and its tagline promises, “A New American Century.” There’s no indication whether the site is connected with either Rubio or Haley.

Read the full story at The State and CNN.


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