Rand Paul endorses Mark Sanford

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is endorsing former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's (R) House campaign, a move that could help Sanford regain his footing in the race and improve Paul's standing in the early-voting presidential state.

"More than anything, Washington needs strong and consistent voices for fiscal responsibility and liberty," Paul said in a statement released by Sanford's campaign.

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"Mark has proven during his time in office that watching out for taxpayers and holding the line on spending are his top priorities,” Paul continued. “What we absolutely cannot afford is someone like his opponent, who will be yet another vote for a return to the Pelosi speakership, for disastrous programs like Obamacare, and for more spending and debt.

“I am pleased to endorse Mark and stand with him in this race."

Paul and Sanford share similar fiscally conservative beliefs. They also have a personal connection: South Carolina state Sen. Tom Davis (R), a close friend of Sanford's since high school, is also one of the Paul family's close allies. Davis was former Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) South Carolina presidential campaign chairman in 2012. The elder Paul also endorsed Sanford last week.

Sanford faces a tough race against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch despite the district's Republican lean. He's struggled to overcome his 2009 extramarital affair, and recent trespassing allegations from his ex-wife have also hurt his bid in what appears to be a tight contest.

The election will take place next Tuesday.

Paul has been actively mulling a potential presidential run and will visit South Carolina in late June as part of a swing through the early primary states.

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