COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - John McCain netted the endorsement of the Greenville News on Sunday, his second major newspaper endorsement of the day in South Carolina.
McCain's other endorsement today, by South Carolina's largest newspaper, The State, was not unexpected among political observers in Columbia.
The Greenville News endorsement, however, will be read over by thousands of Upstate conservatives, many of them weekly churchgoers, who dominate the Republican primary electorate in this state.
The Arizona senator was badly beaten in the Greenville-Spartanburg metro area by George W. Bush in the 2000 primary, largely due to evangelicals who rallied behind Bush. Business has boomed in Greenville in the last eight years, bringing economic and fiscal concerns to the fore there.
The newspaper criticized McCain's early opposition to President Bush's tax cuts, but said McCain's military experience was the deciding factor in their decision.
"No issue is more important than this nation's security, and no Republican on Saturday's ballot is better qualified to offer steady, tested, reassuring leadership than Arizona Sen. John McCain," the paper wrote.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby