Brett Flashnick, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaks to members of the South Carolina GOP during a lunch in Columbia, S.C., Friday, Aug. 19, 2011.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — 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.