Haley to endorse Rubio
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South Carolina Gov. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyMattis hints at US military options for North Korea Trump, Netanyahu talk Middle East peace at UN meeting Trump begins first UN remarks by mentioning his nearby building MORE is endorsing Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Trump bets base will stick with him on immigration MORE (R-Fla.) in the Republican presidential race. 

The endorsement will be announced at a campaign event Wednesday evening. 
 
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Coming days before the South Carolina primary, the endorsement would be a major blow to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who had hoped to secure Haley's backing.
 
The endorsement was first reported by The State newspaper and confirmed to the The Post and Courier.
 
Haley has emerged as a major voice in the state and nationally in the Republican Party, winning bipartisan praise for her handling of the massacre at a historic African-American church in Charleston last summer and subsequent debate over removing a Confederate flag at the statehouse.
 
Republicans leaders in Congress tapped Haley, who is in her second term as governor, to deliver the GOP response to President Obama's final State of the Union address this year, after she pushed back on GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE's rhetoric.
 
Haley had made no secret that she did not plan to endorse Trump, but it was an open question whether she would back Rubio or Bush. 
 
Bush has lagged in recent South Carolina polls, while Rubio has hung around third place in the Palmetto State. Other key figures in the state — including Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottWhy President Trump’s 'both sides' argument has merit GOP senator: 'There is no realistic comparison' between antifa and white supremacists Trump on white supremacists: ‘Pretty bad dudes on the other side also' MORE and Rep. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyGowdy: Sarah Sanders doesn't get say whether Comey broke the law Trump condemns Rice's unmasking: 'What she did was wrong' Sessions, Coats push for permanent renewal of controversial surveillance law MORE — have thrown their support behind Rubio, while Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE has supported Bush.
 
"If she is going to give an endorsement it would be the most powerful, meaningful one in the state," Bush told NBC's Peter Alexander during an interview on Tuesday.
 
Bush added if he didn't get the endorsement, "It sends a signal that I got to work harder."
 
Haley endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 GOP presidential race. Romney lost in South Carolina to Newt Gingrich that year, though he ended up winning the Republican nomination.
 
--This report was updated at 2:29 p.m.