Newt Gingrich (Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A former South Carolina lieutenant governor who once likened the state's poor to stray animals has endorsed Newt Gingrich's bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Andre Bauer's endorsement Monday comes as Gingrich begins three days of campaigning in South Carolina, which holds the first Southern primary Jan. 21.
Bauer finished last in a four-way race for the GOP nomination for governor last year. Gov. Nikki Haley nearly won the primary outright.
He drew criticism for blaming South Carolina's high unemployment on people too lazy to do field work. He said his grandmother told him not to feed stray animals because they reproduce, as he spoke of people being dependent on state assistance.
Bauer is now running for the U.S. House.