First on CNN: Top South Carolina business leader to endorse Donald Trump

Story highlights

  • Bill Stern, a commercial real estate developer and longtime chairman of the South Carolina Ports Authority, will meet with Trump before a campaign rally
  • The endorsement comes just one day after Trump cinched a landslide victory in the New Hampshire primary

Pendleton, South Carolina (CNN)A prominent South Carolina business leader is endorsing Donald Trump for president, according to two sources close to the Trump campaign.

Bill Stern, a commercial real estate developer and longtime chairman of the South Carolina Ports Authority, will meet with the Republican front-runner privately aboard his jet on Wednesday before Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Clemson University. Stern will release a statement announcing his endorsement, the sources said.
He will also serve as the inaugural chairman of the Trump campaign's Southeastern Business Coalition, which is also being launched Wednesday.
    The endorsement comes one day after Trump cinched a landslide victory in the New Hampshire primary and 10 days before South Carolina becomes the third state to vote in the Republican presidential nomination process.
    Stern has long been an influential figure in South Carolina Republican politics, most recently serving on the finance committee of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's since-abandoned presidential bid. Stern also previously served on Arizona Sen. John McCain's finance committee in the state and co-chaired the campaigns of South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and Lt. Gov Henry McMaster.
    Stern's endorsement is the second major sign of support from South Carolina establishment Republicans, following McMaster's endorsement of Trump late last month.