COLUMBIA -- The local political branch of a national business group has endorsed South Carolina Republican gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley.

The political action committee of South Carolina's chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business endorsed Haley on Wednesday at news conferences in Greenville, Columbia and Florence. The director of the group's South Carolina chapter is the former executive director of the state Republican Party.

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"This endorsement means a lot because this is 5,000 small businesses that make South Carolina strong every day," Haley said. "We've got to make sure this is the group we listen to."