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      Zais endorses Childs in superintendent's race

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina education superintendent Mick Zais has endorsed his former deputy superintendent in the race to replace him.

      Zais said Thursday that Meka Childs will be a strong advocate of empowering parents to make educational choices for their children. He described her as having impressive intellect and absolute integrity.

      Childs is among eight Republicans who have announced their candidacy since Zais decided not to seek a second term. She left the education department Jan. 31 to campaign full-time.

      Zais' endorsement comes before a fundraiser for Childs on Thursday night at the Columbia home of former state GOP Chairman Katon Dawson. Also hosting the event is Joe Taylor, the commerce secretary under former Gov. Mark Sanford. Childs was an education policy adviser to Sanford.

      Sponsorship tickets cost $3,500 per couple.

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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