Santorum endorses Sanford's opponent in South Carolina

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Bostic and Sanford will face off next Tuesday in the runoff.

Sanford finished first in the 16-candidate field with 37 percent of the vote last week, while Bostic made the runoff with 13 percent support. A poll released Tuesday from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling showed Sanford with a 53 percent to 40 percent lead over Bostic, a sign the final outcome could be close.

Bostic has strong ties with the district's religious conservative activists, sharing the same base as Santorum in the state. Santorum, who ran for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination is eyeing another bid in 2016, making his connections in the early primary state important.

Santorum and Sanford served together in Congress, though the year Sanford was elected to the House was the same year Santorum moved to the Senate. Two top Santorum campaign strategists from his 2012 presidential run worked for other GOP candidates in the race who were defeated in the first round of voting.

— Updated at 2:33 p.m.