SIOUX CITY, Iowa (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will get a big boost on Friday when South Carolina's Republican governor, Nikki Haley, endorses his 2012 candidacy.
Haley, who was elected in 2010 with the strong backing of Tea Party champion Sarah Palin, is to endorse Romney on the Fox News Channel program "Fox and Friends," a Romney campaign official said.
Haley had been courted by many of the major Republican candidates and her endorsement comes as Romney plans to spend Friday and Saturday campaigning in South Carolina.
She could provide an important voice for Romney in a state where former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich holds a substantial lead in polls.
South Carolina holds a primary on January 21 - the first in the South - after Republicans hold contests in Iowa on January 3 and New Hampshire on January 10.
Haley, the first woman governor of South Carolina, had been backed in her campaign for the office by Romney.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Mohammad Zargham)