GREENVILLE, S.C. — Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman plans to headline a Republican Party fundraiser in this key early GOP primary state Monday.

The former U.S. ambassador to China and Utah governor is expected at a Greer barbecue restaurant for a $20-per-plate event for the Greenville and Spartanburg county Republican parties and Upstate Young Republicans.

On Tuesday, he is scheduled to hold a news conference to announce an endorsement at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville.

South Carolina is a prime stop for GOP White House hopefuls because its first-in-the-South primary has a knack for picking the eventual Republican nominee.

It will be Huntsman's second stop in South Carolina since launching his presidential campaign three weeks ago and his first since the state cleared up questions about its primary would be funded.

Last week the state's GOP-dominated Legislature overrode Republican Gov. Nikki Haley's veto of a budget measure that allowed the state Election Commission to use any of the cash it has left over from the 2010 elections to offset presidential primary costs and continue operations this year. Meanwhile, the state attorney general said the commission can legally run the presidential primary and bill the GOP for its costs, despite a law that was unclear on that point.

Huntsman is not alone this week in South Carolina:

— Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will speak Tuesday at events in Charleston.

— Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has stops in Conway, Myrtle Beach, Spartanburg and Rock Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday.