[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/30/borger.sanford/art.sanford.wife.cnn.jpg caption="In a letter making an endorsement for governor, South Carolina's first lady said her family was 'resilient' in the face of recent challenges."]
(CNN) – In a letter released Wednesday, Jenny Sanford, the wife of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, said she and her family are persevering after a difficult year in which her husband admitted to an extramarital affair. And South Carolina's first lady endorsed Republican Nikki Haley's candidacy to be the state's next governor.
Haley, a South Carolina legislator and an ally of Gov. Sanford, is one of five Republicans who have formally announced bids to replace Jenny Sanford's husband.
In the letter to Haley's supporters, Sanford praised her husband's tenure as governor.
"I'm proud of the work Mark and his Administration have done over almost seven years now, trying very hard to move the ball forward on [growing the economy, improving public schools, and reforming government]."
Sanford also praises Haley as "principled, conservative, tough, and smart."
"So when I'm asked my wish for South Carolina's future, my wish is for a leader of state government like Nikki Haley," Sanford writes.
"And there's one other thing," Sanford writes before broaching the subject of her family's challenges in the last year.
"We all know this past year has been very difficult for our state on many levels. It's been hard for me and my family too. But our family is resilient, and we will be fine. And the people of our state are resilient too. I have no doubt South Carolina will get back on its feet. Nikki Haley would be exactly the kind of refreshing, inspiring, energetic, determined governor South Carolina needs to effectively lead our state to a brighter future."
In the wake of her husband's revelations that he was having an affair with an Argentine woman, Jenny Sanford has stayed largely out of the public eye but been candid about the challenges her marriage is facing.
"Now I think it's up to my husband to do the soul-searching to see if he wants to stay married," Jenny Sanford told Vogue magazine earlier this year. "The ball is in his court."
Updated: 4:10 p.m.