Haley to endorse Rubio
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South Carolina Gov. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyFederal watchdog recommends Conway be removed from role for Hatch Act violations Federal watchdog recommends Conway be removed from role for Hatch Act violations Pavlich: Debunking common smear against pro-life movement MORE is endorsing Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates 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 TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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 ScottOn The Money: Trump weighs emergency declaration for Mexico tariffs | GOP senators look to rein in Trump on trade | Powell says Fed may cut rates if trade war hurts economy On The Money: Trump weighs emergency declaration for Mexico tariffs | GOP senators look to rein in Trump on trade | Powell says Fed may cut rates if trade war hurts economy Trump floats new emergency declaration to impose Mexico tariffs MORE and Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyOur sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower GOP takes aim at Comey, Brennan House Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report MORE — have thrown their support behind Rubio, while Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw House Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally 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.