U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, will endorse U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the GOP race for the White House, a source with knowledge of the decision told The State newspaper on Saturday.
Cruz is scheduled to visit Duncan’s district for a rally in Piedmont on Tuesday, a day after the Iowa caucus gets voting underway in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Cruz addressed Duncan’s annual Faith & Freedom BBQ along with two other presidential candidates, including retired Maryland neurosurgeon Ben Carson, in Anderson in August.
The endorsement from Duncan, who was among lawmakers elected in the Tea Party surge of 2010, could help Cruz win support among conservative voters in the Upstate as he seeks ways to pass GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Duncan’s district includes Greenwood, Anderson and Clemson.
Duncan becomes the fourth Republican in the S.C. congressional delegation to back a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful. Each has chosen different candidates from the 12-person GOP field.
U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land, who along with Duncan is a member of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus, supports U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. At least 10 Freedom Caucus members have endorsed Cruz.
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg, head of the House special committee on the Benghazi attack, backs U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio,, R-Fla. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston also is expected to endorse Rubio, the leading establishment candidate in the polls.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of Seneca, a former White House candidate, threw his support to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.