Haley to endorse Rubio

Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is endorsing Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioGroups unendorse Grayson after domestic violence allegations Trump postpones Hispanic roundtable Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense MORE (R-Fla.) in the Republican presidential race. 

The endorsement will be announced at a campaign event Wednesday evening. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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 TrumpTrump campaign dismisses Dem attacks as ‘night of empty rhetoric’ Obama makes case for Clinton to succeed him FULL SPEECH: President Obama at the Democratic convention 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. 
 
 
"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.

More in Campaign

Trump rivals divided over convention

Read more »