Charleston, SC (CNN) – One of Rick Perry's most well-known supporters in South Carolina, former U.S. ambassador and state speaker of the house David Wilkins, will now back Mitt Romney, he tells CNN.
Perry has endorsed Newt Gingrich but Wilkins' decision illustrates that his key allies in the Palmetto State are not necessarily following suit.
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Wilkins said he is thinking about November.
"I think (Romney) is by far our best chance to take back the White House," Wilkins told CNN, "With the economy like it is we need somebody with business experience. I think he can do more for America than anyone else."
The Greenville Republican served as speaker of the house for 11 years, one of the longest tenures in state history. In 2000, his work as co-chairman of the George W. Bush campaign was seen as instrumental to putting that Texas leader on the map in South Carolina.
As president, Bush appointed Wilkins to serve as ambassador to Canada. At the time he and his wife, Susan, met the Romneys and Wilkins said they left with very positive impressions.
Wilkins endorsed Perry in August, just days after the Texan announced his candidacy. But in the past few weeks the South Carolina leader publicly said he was uncomfortable with Perry's attacks on Mitt Romney's business career with Bain Capital.
Wilkins, now with team Romney, says that business experience is one of the candidate's best assets.