With the South Carolina primary just 18 days away, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has thrown his support behind colleague Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for the GOP presidential nomination.
The buzz that Scott would endorse Rubio began before the last ballots were counted in Monday’s Iowa caucuses.
Scott announced his support in a campaign video filmed in front of his childhood home.
“It’s a long way from where I grew up to the U.S. Senate. I believe the best days of our country are ahead of her — that 2016 may be the most important election,” Scott said. “I am putting my confidence and my trust in Marco Rubio, because I believe that he takes us to that better future. Marco Rubio understands that here in America, it’s not about where you start, it’s about where you are going.”
“We have one shot in 2016 to beat Hillary Clinton and that shot is Marco Rubio, and with him as our candidate: we win. Join me. Vote for Marco Rubio. Let’s see the next American century unfold before our eyes. Because with Marco Rubio, America’s future is very bright.”
That brings Rubio’s upper chamber endorsements up to five: Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Scott.
Rubio’s campaign learned that he was pushed into third in a close Iowa race — 27.7 percent for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), 24.3 percent for Donald Trump, and 23.1 percent, effectively splitting their share of delegates — by drawing the late undecided voters.
“I think people realize on the Republican side that we cannot afford, this country cannot afford, to lose this election and that I give the party the best chance not just to unify the conservative movement but to grow it, to take our message to people that don’t vote Republican now, grow our party, grow our movement and defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders,” Rubio told Good Morning America.
“And so I feel — we felt that that momentum in the last few days as our campaign continued to grow,” he said. “We got more votes than Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum did when they won the caucuses just four years ago. So we feel great about what Iowa did and we thank them. We’re ready to go in New Hampshire and we’re excited about the momentum we’re carrying into this great state.”
South Carolina’s other senator, former presidential candidate Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is still convinced that “the story after New Hampshire will be the Bush ground game and the Bush political organization.”
But Graham, who has formally endorsed Jeb Bush, acknowledged that his fellow home-state senator “will help Marco.”
“You know, on foreign policy Marco has been very good for the most part. You know, he has the world view I share. But let me just say this. Immigration haunts this party. He tried to fix a broken immigration system in a rational way, now he has backed off. To think that’s not going to matter in the general election, you’re kidding yourself,” Graham told MSNBC this morning. “And again, I hope I’m wrong about the abortion issue. It’s going to be hard to sell to young women Marco’s position on abortion. I don’t know how this movie ends, but I know with women and Hispanics that we are going in the wrong direction in my view and Jeb Bush will beat Hillary Clinton and I think he’s becoming the only person, quite frankly, that can beat Hillary Clinton.”