Florence, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard announced Tuesday that his vote in the state’s Saturday primary will be for GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
Ard is the highest office-holder in the Palmetto State to back the longtime Georgia congressman and former House speaker.
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"That's not an endorsement, that's me telling you for what it's worth who I'll be voting for,” Ard said. He continued, "I think South Carolina and its voters are too independent to listen to many endorsements.
"When I vote Saturday morning it will be for Newt Gingrich."
The state’s governor, Nikki Haley, announced her formal endorsement for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney last month.
The first-term lieutenant governor won his election overwhelmingly in 2010, but has since been mired in controversy over campaign finance violations that are currently under investigation by a state grand jury. He remains very popular in his home county of Florence.
Ard introduced Gingrich at his first stop in Florence Tuesday morning at a speech to employees at the Carolinas Hospital System.
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