Presidential endorsements of note in South Carolina today

Members of the media gather around Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. as he answers their questions after a town hall meeting at the Saint Anselm Institute of Politics in Manchester, N.H., Thursday.

Endorsements from South Carolinians and others for presidential candidates continue on Friday, weeks before the state primaries.

The campaign for Republican presidential candidate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced eight endorsements, primarily from Lowcountry county council members and school board officials.

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, Charleston County Constituent District No. 1 School Board member Joe Bowers and former Horry County Rep. Liston Barfield.

As chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, Grooms is one of several senators at the center of the roads debate in the Statehouse. Grooms said Rubio is the GOP’s best bet at retaking the White House in November.

“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. “Marco also has proven foreign policy judgment and the best plan to ensure America’s economy is prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It’s time for conservatives to unite.”

Grooms has served in the Senate since 1997. His Upstate colleague Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at his Greenville rally on Tuesday.

McMaster recently endorsed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and was featured in a radio ad released Friday by the campaign.

“I am delighted to support Donald Trump,” McMaster says in the radio spot. “He is a man of accomplishment and speaks the truth in words everyone can understand, instills confidence in the people about our country’s bright future, and reflects and believes in the strength and determination necessary for success.”

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McMaster became the highest ranking state officer in the U.S. to endorse Trump, Cynthia Roldan reported. He’s also one of South Carolina’s biggest so-called “establishment” leaders, having chaired the state Republican Party for nine years.

The first-term U.S. senator endorsed Rubio earlier this week, but like McMaster, he was also featured in a recently released ad.

“Marco Rubio understands that here in America, it’s not about where you start, it’s about where you are going,” Scott said in a TV ad that began airing Thursday. “I’m Tim Scott, and Marco Rubio is the conservative I trust to inspire our country, unite our party, and win in November.”