As the endorsement battle heats up between the leading Democratic gubernatorial contenders, State Superintendent Jim Rex has picked up a prize Lowcountry nod: writer Pat Conroy.

The Beaufort resident best known for The Prince of Tides wrote about his experiences as an educator in the book “The Water is Wide.” His latest, “South of Broad,” is set in Charleston.

“Jim Rex speaks from the heart, and I think he speaks for the South Carolina heart,” said Conroy. As he looked across the marsh, he added, “Our tide is rising.”

Rex vowed to continue his fight to improve conditions along the Corridor of Shame, named for the film in which Conroy appears, detailing the generations of neglect faced by South Carolina’s poor, rural schools.

“A man or woman in a black robe is not going to solve this for us,” said Rex, speaking of the decades-long court case. “We must solve it.”

We anxiously await word from the Sue Monk Kidd camp.