Former Gov. and now US Rep. Mark Sanford has given his support to Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.
Sanford endorsed Cruz during a stop at the College of Charleston on Friday. The former governor was the last of South Carolina’s congressional delegation to back a presidential candidate (although Mick Mulvaney and Tom Rice have stayed neutral since their respective candidates Rand Paul and Scott Walker dropped out of the race). He joins fellow SC congressman US Rep. Jeff Duncan in backing the Texas senator.
In a later statement, Sanford admitted he does not see the value in politician endorsements, “If there was ever the year wherein voters have made it clear that they don’t care what elected officials think on how they should vote, this is it,” he said. “This having been said, I am a South Carolina citizen and voter who has really become concerned about the direction and tenor of this race. After watching a CNN town hall meeting last night and some of the responses that came from Mr. Trump I felt it was important to publicly state how I intended to vote tomorrow. As a consequence, I came out for Senator Cruz (Friday) afternoon.”
The endorsement comes just one day before South Carolina GOP voters head to the polls for the presidential primary. Recent poll averages show suggest Cruz is fighting for second place in South Carolina, trailing real estate mogul Donald Trump by double-digit percentage points.
Sanford had previously attended the rallies for most candidates whenever they visited his Lowcountry district that includes Charleston and Beaufort. His endorsement still offers some credibility for candidates who portray themselves as “fiscal conservatives,” but he has also lost much of his standing with voters and even his own party over an admitted affair in 2009 that ended his marriage and made him a lame-duck governor for his last 18 months in office.
Cruz also campaigned Friday with reality television star Phil Robertson of the show “Duck Dynasty.” Robertson, wearing a t-shirt and his recognizable long beard, urged voters put “a staunch, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Godly man” in the White House.