George H.W. Bush backs widow of Lee Atwater

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Former President George H.W. Bush endorsed the widow of the former campaign strategist who helped win him the White House in 1988.

In a statement to NewsMax on Tuesday, Bush endorsed Sally Atwater in the GOP primary for the South Carolina superintendent of education. Sally Atwater is the widow of Lee Atwater, who died from a brain tumor in 1991. 

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"That real-life experience working where 'the rubber meets the road' — combined with Sally's commitment to public service — will serve all stakeholders of South Carolina's education system well," Bush said. "Barbara and I endorse and commend her to one and all."

It is uncommon for a former president to endorse in a low-profile race, but Lee Atwater managed Bush's campaign in 1988, when he prevailed over Michael Dukakis. Lee Atwater went on to lead the Republican National Committee after the election. 

Former President George W. Bush, during his time in office, appointed Sally Atwater to lead a presidential committee dedicated with people with intellectual disabilities, according to The State newspaper in South Carolina. 

In an interview announcing her run in January, Atwater said she moved back to the state two years ago partly because of Gov. Nikki Haley's (R) education initiative. 

She said she used to raise a lot of money for people in the state, and she has maintained those relationships. 

“I used to raise money for other people. I have kept in touch. One thing I learned from Lee Atwater: Always keep in touch," she said in January.