Palmetto Sunrise: Lowcountry support grows for Rubio

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks during a town hall meeting in Laconia, N.H., Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

COLUMBIA – GOP presidential candidate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is capping a week of endorsements with some fresh Lowcountry support.

The Rubio campaign told The Post and Courier that eight current and local elected officials now endorse Rubio for president. They include: Charleston Sen. Larry Grooms, Charleston County School Board Chairman Cindy Bohn Coats, Dorchester County Councilman Jay Byars, Berkley County Councilman Josh Whitley, Charleston County School Board member Todd Garrett, Dorchester County School Board member Justin Farnsworth and Charleston County Constituent District No. 1 School Board member Joe Bowers.

“Marco Rubio is the right choice for South Carolina because he is the one candidate in this race who can unite the Republican Party and defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders,” Grooms said in a statement. “It’s time for conservatives to unite.”

From the Grand Strand, former Horry County Rep. Liston Barfield also backs Rubio.

Rubio, who won a solid third place in Iowa, is seen as the establishment’s best candidate for taking the White House. He secured Sen. Tim Scott’s endorsement on Tuesday and previously received Upstate Congressman Trey Gowdy’s approval. Both will be on hand at debate watch parties Saturday in North Charleston and Greenville. The ABC News debate coverage begins at 8 p.m. and without businesswoman Carly Fiorina.

As endorsements for Rubio and other candidates roll in across the state, Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement is still unknown. Reporter Cynthia Roldan’s story today looks into who Haley could end up endorsing, if anyone.

2016 visits

New York businessman and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump will rally in Florence at the Florence Civic Center this evening. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m.

Chelsea Clinton will stump throughout the Upstate on Saturday for her mother, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Chelsea Clinton will be at the Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center in Rock Hill at 11 a.m., Converse College in Spartanburg at 2:15 p.m. and Hendrix Student Center at Clemson University at 4:30 p.m.

Dirty tricks

Let The Post and Courier know if you see any dirty campaigning leading up to the GOP and Democratic presidential primaries on Feb. 20 and Feb. 27, respectively.

If you see something, say something at postandcourier.com/dirtytricks

Many may remember the 2000 Sen. John McCain smear over his adopted daughter from Bangladesh or the 2007 Christmas card of Mitt Romney and family with a Mormon quote on polygamy meant to raise doubt among evangelical voters.

Today’s headlines:

Tim Scott takes a chance on speaking his mind (The Post and Courier)

Roads bill in S.C. Senate still lacks traction (The Post and Courier)

Hillary Clinton Is Again Put on the Defensive Over Perceived Ties to Wall Street (The New York Times)

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Clinton and Sanders get ugly (POLITICO)

Presidential endorsements of note in South Carolina today (The Post and Courier)

Concerns raised over release of dash cam video (The Greenville News)

NH poll: Rubio surges into second place (The Hill)

Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan campaigning for Clinton in SC (AP)

Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott may get hit by Rubio friendly fire on national security (The Charlotte Observer)

Kissinger’s Vision for U.S.-Russia Relations (The National Interest)