Rick Perry's South Carolina office opens

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

COLUMBIA -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry picked up endorsements Wednesday as his wife opened his campaign headquarters in key early-voting South Carolina.

South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers gave Perry his first endorsement from a statewide officeholder. Perry also announced endorsements from 21 Republican legislators, although that list included some lawmakers who had said weeks ago they would support Perry.

Texas first lady Anita Perry opened the office as about a dozen people picketed in costumes and masks. One wore a sombrero and poncho and held a sign thanking Perry for letting children of illegal immigrants pay the same tuition rates as Texas residents.

A Winthrop University poll released Tuesday shows Perry as first choice with 30 percent among GOP voters and Mitt Romney next at 27 percent. That put them within the poll's margin of error of each other.