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Marco Rubio and South Carolina

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Columbia, S.C. — Nikki Haley made her decision over dinner. Three dinners, to be exact. They were casual, held at the South Carolina governor’s mansion, in the family quarters rather than in the formal dining room. Having long decided that she would wait until after the New Hampshire primary to make her decision, the South Carolina governor was genuinely undecided.

Chris Christie, who had dropped out, is a friend, as is Jeb Bush. She was also seriously considering Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. So she invited Cruz, Bush, and Rubio to dinner. Ted and Heidi Cruz dined with Haley and her husband, Mike, as well as a few close aides on Wednesday, February 10; with Jeb Bush on Thursday, February 11; and with Marco and Jeanette Rubio on Monday, February 15.

Haley decided on Tuesday, just five days before the primary here in the Palmetto State, that Rubio would get her vote, and they appeared together on stage for the first time at a rally in Chapin, S.C. the following evening. Rubio had limped out of the New Hampshire primary with a fifth-place finish having promised his supporters that he would never disappoint them again; Haley’s endorsement was the sort of boost he needed.

Rubio took the stage tonight to declare second place a victory. And in many ways, it was. He bested Ted Cruz, who arrived in South Carolina last week firmly in the second-place position Rubio seized from him by just over a percentage point, and he forced Jeb Bush out of the race. After Bush announced the suspension of his campaign, a development that clearly benefits Rubio moving forward, the Florida senator told the crowd, “After tonight, this has become a three-person race, and we will win the nomination.”

With a second-place finish in South Carolina, Rubio has demonstrated resilience, the ability to withstand both an onslaught of negative advertisements as well as his own self-inflicted wounds. Haley’s endorsement certainly helped him rebound.


Source: Eliana Johnson http://www.nationalreview.com