COLUMBIA - The group of lawmakers who support Meka Childs for Superintendent of Education grew on Thursday, with five announcing their support for her in the race.

Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, and Reps. Phil Owens, R-Easley; Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, Joshua Putnam, R-Piedmont; and Kirkman Finlay, R-Columbia announced their support on Thursday for Childs.

Fair said he was proud to endorse Childs because she is the most qualified individual to lead the Department of Education.

"With Meka as our next State Superintendent, students will have standards that prepare them for work or college and citizenship, parents will have more choices, and taxpayers can rest assured that resources are safeguarded and used in the most effective and efficient way," Fair said.

Owens said Childs knows getting students to graduation is not enough.

"With Meka Childs leading the Department of Education, there will be value added to a South Carolina high school diploma and our students will be prepared to succeed in the competitive workforce of today and tomorrow," Owens said.

Taylor added Childs will not only fight Common Core, but all federal overreach in South Carolina's education system.

"Meka knows how important it is for parents to be empowered to make decisions for their children, not inside the beltway federal bureaucrats," Taylor said.

Putnam also said Childs combines experience with integrity and an unquestionable work ethic.

"As a graduate of Duke University, Meka has proven herself a hard worker with intellect. As a devoted military wife, former public school teacher, past Senior Education Policy Adviser to Governor Mark Sanford, and recent Deputy Superintendent under General Mick Zais, Meka has the experience to make a seamless transition into the superintendency," Putnam said.

And Finlay said Childs knows how the power of education and school choice open doors that would ordinarily be closed.

"Her commitment to offer parents more choices is unshakeable," Finlay said. "With a teaching background, Meka knows that not all students are the same and choice can be vital to a student's success and future."

Childs has also received the endorsement of the current Superintendent of Education Mick Zais in March. Zais announced in December he would not seek re-election.

She's also been endorsed by several other state lawmakers. In May, she received the support of Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort; Speaker Pro Tempore Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville; and Rep. Mike Burns, R-Taylors; and Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill. In April, Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, and Reps. Eric Bedingfield, R-Belton, and Kris Crawford, R-Florence, announced they supported her candidacy.

Childs is one of eight candidates - which include, Sally Atwater, Gary Burgess, 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 election is on Tuesday.