As the South Carolina primary approaches, a group of leading South Carolina state and federal lawmakers are endorsing Jeb Bush for president.
The new crop of supporters includes Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, State Sen. Ross Turner, State Rep. Kirkman Finlay, and former U.S. Rep. Henry Brown. Spearman has been superintendent of education since 2014; Turner and Finlay were both elected in 2012.
Brown represented South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District from 1985 to 2001.
The new supporters join U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, and Adjutant General Bob Livingston. Other legislators backing Bush include House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, Sens. Paul Thurmond and Katrina Shealy, as well as Reps. Ralph Norman, Samuel Rivers and Dennis Moss.
The endorsements came just a few hours before South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced she will be supporting Bush’s GOP establishment rival, Marco Rubio.
“Education is an issue not only tied to student success but also keeping our country aware of the very real threats we face,” Spearman said in a prepared statement. “I trust Governor Bush to not only implement state-driven education policy but also to keep our families protected from harm and keep national security as a top priority.”
While America faces “dangerous times,” Turner said Bush will restore American strength at home and abroad.
“He has the confidence of the nation’s military leaders and our veterans,” he said. “And that is all that South Carolina needs to hear.”
Finlay cited Bush’s “impressive record” in Florida, which makes him the strongest candidate to beat Hillary Clinton nationally.
“Now, more than ever, we need a dependable leader with strong core, conservative convictions to keep our nation on track,” he said. “That’s why I am proud to endorse Governor Bush.”
South Carolina holds its GOP primary Saturday.