A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary.
South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy is expected to formally endorse presidential candidate Marco Rubio during a series of events in Iowa Tuesday.
Gowdy will accompany the Florida senator at eight stops across the Hawkeye State during the next two days, according to a release from Rubio’s campaign. The endorsement had been expected after Gowdy appeared with Rubio at an event in Anderson last week.
“Marco is a rock solid conservative and a strong leader we can trust,” Gowdy said in a statement released by Rubio’s campaign. “I look forward to campaigning in Iowa with him, and introducing my good friend to voters across this state.”
To this point, only one other South Carolina congressman has endorsed a presidential candidate — Mick Mulvaney threw his support behind Rand Paul in September. Most of South Carolina’s delegation appeared to be withholding individual support out of respect for South Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who dropped out of the race last week.
Rubio joined the Senate in 2011, the same year Gowdy first took office. Gowdy has built up a lot of support among the GOP’s conservative base for his hardline questioning during House committee hearings, particularly while he has chaired a panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks. The former prosecutor is also well-liked among GOP voters in South Carolina, winning reelection with 84 percent of the overall vote in 2014.
Donald Trump preemptively criticized the endorsement during an appearance on FOX News Sunday, calling Gowdy a “loser” for his role in the Benghazi panel’s questioning of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “His hearings were a disaster. Everybody was looking forward to something that was going to be really productive,” Trump said. “And he didn’t win with those hearings. It was a total not-good for Republicans and for the country.”
— Trump himself will be back in South Carolina this week. He will appear at the Westin Resort in Hilton Head on Wednesday. His campaign had announced Monday the Hilton Head venue would be shifted to a local park do to “overwhelming demand,” but the Island Packet newspaper reports the 11 a.m. rally was moved back to the resort due to weather concerns. He will return to the Palmetto State on Jan. 8, with a stop at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.
— Former Florida governor Jeb Bush will be back in the Midlands on Wednesday. Bush will visit Hudson’s Smokehouse in Lexington, which has become a regular campaign stop for Republicans the past few election cycles. The event will start at 6:30 p.m.