Paul scores sought-after endorsement in South Carolina
January 15th, 2012
10:13 PM ET
9 years ago

Paul scores sought-after endorsement in South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (CNN) – Six days before South Carolina's presidential primary, Ron Paul scored one of the most sought-after political blessings in the state.

On Sunday, state Sen. Tom Davis endorsed the Texas congressman in Myrtle Beach. Davis is a rising star in Republican circles and a highly regarded fiscal conservative who holds sway over many tea party activists.

Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to and on the CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.

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Paul himself told CNN the nod would bring "a lot of attention for me."

In a packed hotel conference room at a Paul campaign event, Davis stepped onto a stage in front of a few hundred Paul loyalists and explained why he would support Paul over his rivals in the GOP presidential race.

"One of the nice things about being in South Carolina every four years is you get to meet candidates first hand. And I've had that chance," Davis said.

The state senator called former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman "a fine man" and was equally kind to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

"At the end of the day, when I sat down, I realized there were a lot of good people running for this race," Davis said. "But there's only one person, there's only one person speaking to what I believe is the core problem of our country today. The biggest threat to our liberty comes from debt."

"There is only one candidate that is talking about this problem to the degree, at the scale and with the scope that it needs to be talked about. You can't nibble around the edges anymore."

Davis' endorsement of Paul could help the Texas congressman ahead of South Carolina's first-in-the-South presidential primary on January 21. A recent American Research Group survey in the state shows a tight race between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Gingrich and Paul.

Yet Davis' endorsement also highlights a problem seen among Republicans nationwide: like-minded conservatives are unable to coalesce around one candidate.

Among the state's Republican leaders, Gov. Nikki Haley has endorsed Romney, popular state conservative Rep. Mick Mulvaney has backed Perry, and Rep. Joe Wilson previously backed former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race after a disappointing finish in the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa last summer.

Senators Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham and popular tea party figure Rep. Tim Scott have not endorsed a candidate.

After speaking at the event himself, CNN asked Paul why the Davis endorsement mattered.

"Well because he's very popular. And he's going to get a lot of support and he's going to get a lot of attention for me," Paul said. "And he's a believer."

Also see:

Group backing Gingrich hits Romney for health care law and Bain record

Romney gives cash to struggling supporter at rally

Romney super PAC pummels Santorum and Gingrich by mail

Tim Scott, the ultimate undecided voter

Filed under: Ron Paul • South Carolina
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. MrCoto

    Good! Smart man. He knows which way the wind is blowing.

    Go Roan Paul!

    January 15, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  2. MaryM

    Does not matter how many endorcements Paul gets. At the end of the day he will not win in a general election.

    January 15, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. Larry L

    What sort of voters are such sheep that they depend on endorsements from the same political weasels we all pretend to dislike? Politicians score lower than ambulance-chasing lawyers yet somebody actually listens to them regarding the selection of a candidate of choice?

    January 15, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  4. leon

    I was wondering why there is no CNN TV piece about this endorsement while there was an Extensive coverage about an old lady in New Hampshire with whom Ron Paul (heartlessly) did not shake up hands with??
    Ron Paul 2012!

    January 15, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  5. Brandi

    I can't believe that I am the only one that has read this and responded.

    January 15, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  6. George Hung

    I hope John King can conduct a non-biased interview unlike his wife Dana Gash.

    January 15, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  7. Stephen

    Hooray for Dr. Paul's first meaningful endorsement! Back to Utah with you, Huntsman.

    January 15, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  8. Philosopher

    Ronn Paul seems to be the only genuine Constitutional advocate and one that will take on the Federal reserve system in the US. Neither Democrats or Republicans seem capable of it other than him.

    January 15, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  9. Paul Allen

    Let's keep the momentum going! I've personally given 200 dollars to Ron Paul's campaign and I will probably give more. He seems to be the only candidate that understands the severity of our country's debt problem and actually has a plan to do something about it. Ron Paul for President of the United States!!!

    January 15, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. Tyler

    Yes. People are waking up. RON PAUL 2012

    January 15, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  11. Esmail

    Granted, Huntsman dropping out of the race is a big deal, but it is telling that once again, Ron Paul is pushed to the bottom of the page, even on the politics page. Receiving this endorsement is a major event, especially given that this is happening in SC, right before the SC primary. I will credit for even posting this as other "major" news websites have yet to even acknowledge it.... However, it is disheartening that a major endorsement such as this is given such a small reception given the magnitude of what is about to happen on Thursday.

    January 15, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  12. 2ctruth

    "The biggest threat to our liberty comes from debt."

    And Ron Paul understands the problem and how to fix it. Unlike Romney, Gingrich, Obama... the 'establishment' candidates... who stand for the ‘status quo’ of more deficits, more war, more banker bail-outs, NDAA, destruction of our Constitution, and destruction of our way of life.

    Our National Debt is at $16 Trillion and growing - it already takes 25% of all tax revenue just to pay interest on the debt. The ‘establishment’ has dug us into a deep hole and they are still digging.

    Ron Paul is the ‘anti-establishment’. He stands for smaller government that is beholden to the people instead of the current large and growing government that is owned by special interest groups.

    Time to take our country back from the bankers and special interests. Ron Paul 2012.

    January 15, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  13. The Intellectual

    My bet is that Senator Jim DeMint will endorse Ron Paul in the coming week...or he will wait to see if Ron has a strong showing in South Carolina...and THEN he will endorse him. Ron's tide is rising...

    January 15, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. JimAR

    A State Senator who "holds sway over many tea party activists"? Wow! I am feeling light-headed.

    January 15, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  15. Mckarnin

    Thanks for saying something about this endorsement but you would think the man you called a "rising star", Senator Tom Davis, would get better coverage when he endorses one of the top tier presidential candidates.

    January 15, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  16. bee13zz

    Naysayers may be better served to delay absolutist remarks pegging the so-called "ineluctability" of Ron Paul. This guy just continues to gain steam, even in places few expected him to shine and the way things are shaping up, you just might have to choke down irrevocable, short-sighted predictions.

    I think this relates to the axiom of not painting oneself into a corner. Just a thought...

    January 15, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  17. Dick Hertz

    As long as Independents back him he will beat Obama. We make up 40% of voters. We say who will be in Office next.

    January 15, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. jacob

    Dear Senator DeMint, Please have the courage to support Ron Paul. You will not regret it.

    January 15, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. John

    Ron Paul is a honest candidate that will do everything in his power to get this country back on track, he will never give up his quest for liberty.

    January 15, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. Tony

    #1 donor for Obama = Goldman Sachs
    #1 donor for Romney = Goldman Sachs

    #1 donor for Ron Paul = active military service men and women.
    RON PAUL 2012!!

    January 15, 2012 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  21. ty

    finally got around to mentioning the huge endorsement...that's nice

    January 16, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  22. Robert Fallin

    By this time in the last campaign, Congressman Paul had received virtually no endorsements. That this would happen BEFORE what is possibly the most decisive primary, South Carolina, says a lot about who has momentum in this campaign. I would expect Lindsey Graham to endorse Romney, but Graham has become a hated figure in South Carolina. I would expect Jim DeMint to either endorse Paul or make no endorsement. I suspect the latter. The media virtually ignored Congressman Tim Scott until he voted for the National Defense Authorization Act, so I figure Scott's media attention is offset by the popularity he has lost thanks to that betrayal. Given the audience reaction at Mike Hukabee's Saturday debate, at which Ron Paul didn't appear, but two surrogates did, I expect Paul to either win South Carolina or place a close second. If that happens, this becomes a two man race and a real horse race, at that. Thanks for posting this article.

    January 16, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  23. Andy

    I'm a believer too. Veteran. Catholic Christian. God bless Ron Paul.

    January 16, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  24. Ty Price

    CNN don’t you get the others drop the will all support Paul and he will win!!!!! I mean come on???

    January 16, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  25. Joanne

    Hey everybody, come on in and grab a chair. The Doctor will free you now!

    January 16, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
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