Around the South for Mar. 19: SC, KY, & TX

South Carolina: Bush, Walker hitting the hustings. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are busy in the Palmetto State this week, an early primary state in 2016. Tops on their agenda, says Politico, is getting in good with Gov. Nikki Haley (R), now more popular since she won reelection last fall. “[T]hey would all probably just kill to have her endorsement,” Columbia consultant Richard Quinn (R) told the newspaper. In Greenville, Bush hit President Obama for failing to work well with the GOP congress, comparing him unfavorably with President Reagan. Walker is visiting four South Carolina cities ……. Kentucky: Beshear signs bill to help horse race. “Here in Kentucky we revere, respect and showcase the beauty and athleticism of horses with more enthusiasm and knowledge than people from any other state,” said Gov. Steve Beshear (D) upon signing a bill that would provide tax exemptions for certain wagers during the Breeders’ Cup this October ……. Texas: Houston mayor in final year. Annise Parker, an openly gay woman, has been mayor of Houston since January 2010. The Washington Post, in a long interview, described Parker as “reserved and wonky” and noted that she got elected by presenting herself as an effective manager and did not emphasize her sexual orientation. “I was a gay and lesbian activist in my college days…” she told the Post. “As mayor, I am the public face and voice of the citizens of Houston. I just happen to be a lesbian when I’m doing it.” ……