COLUMBIA - Superintendent of Education Candidate Sally Atwater has picked up another national endorsement.

The President and CEO of the Christian Coalition of America, Roberta Combs, announced her support for Atwater in the race on Friday, according to a written release by Atwater's campaign.

Combs said Atwater is the best choice to lead South Carolina's schools "out of the darkness of the education bureaucracy," according to the release.

"Sally Atwater is a special needs teacher who understands firsthand that all life is precious," Combs said. "I have known Sally and her family for many years and I know how committed she is to improving education in South Carolina. I am thrilled to personally endorse Sally Atwater's campaign for Education Superintendent of South Carolina and I encourage anyone who truly cares about the future of education to rally behind her grassroots campaign today."

This marks Atwater's third endorsement from a national voice. Former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, and Former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich have endorsed Atwater.

Several state lawmakers have also announced their support for Atwater, including Sen. Greg Gregory, R-Lancaster; Rep. Todd Atwater, R-Lexington; Rep. Nathan Ballentine, R-Chapin; Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford, R-Myrtle Beach and Rep. Bill Sandifer, R-Seneca.

Atwater is one of eight candidates - which include, Gary Burgess, Meka Childs, Amy Cofield, Sheri Few, Don Jordan, Elizabeth Moffly and Molly Spearman - vying for the Republican nomination. Four others are seeking the Democratic nomination, including Montrio Belton, Sheila Gallagher, Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, and Tom Thompson.

The primary is less than two weeks away on June 10.