Leading SC Republican endorses Rick Perry for 2012

By JIM DAVENPORT | August 20, 2011 | 10:10 AM EDT

Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, recognizes a face in the crowd as he takes the stage to speak to members of the South Carolina GOP during a lunch in Columbia, S.C., Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has picked up an important endorsement in South Carolina for his 2012 presidential campaign.

Longtime state legislator David Wilkins, who played a big role in George W. Bush's White House races, says he's signing onto Perry's bid.

Wilkins, a former ambassador to Canada, is the most notable backer to announce his support for a candidate in early primary-voting South Carolina.

Wilkins attends a Perry fundraiser on Friday night and confirmed on Saturday that he was endorsing the Texas governor.