(CNN) - South Carolina's largest newspaper, The State, endorsed former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Sunday, just six days before the state's Republican presidential primary.
The paper's editorial board stated that while frontrunner Mitt Romney is "more appealing" than the rest of the GOP field, Huntsman is "more principled, has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message."
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The paper also hit Romney as a politician too willing to change his views in order to win votes but praised Huntsman as a "a true conservative, with a record and platform of bold economic reform straight out of the free-market bible."
After attending church in Charleston on Sunday, Huntsman reacted to the endorsement.
"I think it's a big deal any time you get the largest paper in the state to come out and endorse you,” Huntsman said. “I thought it was well-written and well-argued."
Citing his job-creating tenure as governor and foreign policy experience, the paper's editorial board - known for its moderate leanings - also lauded Huntsman as having a strong appeal to centrists.
"Don’t expect him to engage in meaningless hyperbole or apologize for his occasional moderate positions," the editorial read.
While the editorial board disagreed with Huntsman's efforts to push private school voucher programs, the board praised what it called the "essential values that drive his candidacy: honor and old-fashioned decency and pragmatism."
But Huntsman wasn’t the only candidate getting support from South Carolina ink on Sunday. Two other newspapers - The Greenville News and The Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, which has substantial readership in neighboring South Carolina - made Romney their top pick.
After taking third in New Hampshire's primary last week, Huntsman made headlines when he decided to take his campaign south to compete in the Palmetto State's contest.
A recent American Research Group survey showed only 1% of likely South Carolina primary voters would support Huntsman, while 29% said they would back Romney.
The endorsement follows another big newspaper nod for Huntsman this month. Just days before the New Hampshire primary, The Boston Globe in the largely-Democratic state of Massachusetts threw its support behind Huntsman.
- CNN’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.