In what may feel like a snub to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and current U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former President Donald Trump has landed several endorsements, both from statewide elected officials and state representatives with local constituencies.
At the top of his latest Palmetto State nods are Attorney General Alan Wilson and Secretary of State Mark Hammond.
“President Trump’s legacy of judicial appointments is the strongest in my lifetime,” Wilson said. “With more than 300 federal judges and three Supreme Court Justices appointed during his tenure, our country will see originalist, Constitutionalist rulings for decades to come.”
“His policies on the Southern border, as well as his strong foreign policy positions during these dangerous times will help keep America safe for future generations. He has my wholehearted endorsement,” Wilson added.
The list also includes House Majority Leader Davey Hiott, who represents District 4 in rural northwest South Carolina west of Spartanburg.
“Joe Biden has been a disaster, and we recognize Republicans must support a strong and proven leader who will reverse our nation’s decline,” Hiott said.
“President Trump is dominating South Carolina’s First in the South Primary and his nomination will be the first and best step to evicting Joe Biden from the White House. We are proud to join many of South Carolina’s officials in endorsing Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States.”
Other endorsements include state Reps. Bill Sandifer, Val Guest Jr., Kevin Hardee, Randy Ligon, Phillip Lowe, Robby Robbins, Jay West, David Vaughn Jr., Jay Jordan, and Cody Mitchell.
The latest endorsements add to shows of support Trump has already landed, including Gov. Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov. Pam Evette, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, state Treasurer Curtis Loftis, state House Speaker Murrell Smith, and U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, William Timmons and Russel Fry.
The crowded GOP field, which Trump continues to dominate despite his myriad legal woes in both federal and state cases, is working to win momentum in South Carolina, which will host the first-in-the-nation GOP Primary next year, on Feb. 24.
Trump is winning that battle, at least in terms of institutional support among state leaders.
As reported in The State, Haley, who served as the state’s Governor from 2011 until 2017, has relatively few nods from elected officials in her state, which many accredit to her time as Governor when she “ruffled feathers” in the state Legislature. Still, she did land a nod from U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, who is a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and a former Trump ally.
Scott has good numbers. He rolled out more than 140 endorsements from current and former elected officials in South Carolina. But other than a handful of big names such as state Senate leader Shane Massey, U.S. Rep. Henry Brown, state Rep. Bruce Bannister, who chairs the powerful Ways and Means committee, and former longtime state House Speaker Bobby Harrell, there aren’t a ton of heavy hitters.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who doesn’t have the benefit of home-state status like Haley and Scott, might be in an even more woeful position in the Palmetto State. In early August, he rolled out endorsements from 35 South Carolina leaders, following previous nods from 15 lawmakers. But the list is largely populated by small town Mayors and City Council people.
And Trump, as far as polling can tell, is still on top in South Carolina.
A Washington Post-Monmouth University poll taken earlier this month found Trump with 46% support among Republican Primary voters in South Carolina. Haley came in with 18% support, good for second place, followed by 10% for Scott. DeSantis, who has long been considered the most likely Trump alternative but who has so far failed to gain momentum, landed just 9% support in the same poll.