New polling numbers released yesterday show South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint leading potential GOP presidential candidates in his home state, a key early primary state for Republicans next year. DeMint snagged 24% of the vote, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 20%.
For a popular Tea Party conservative that won re-election to the Senate with 62% of the vote last year, DeMint should pull a lot more weight on his home turf. Perhaps South Carolinans are confused about whether or not DeMint plans to be on the GOP presidential primary ballot in 2012.
Who can blame them? DeMint has emphatically denied that he plans to make a bid for the Republican presidential nomination. But his plans to speak at a conservative forum in Iowa next month sparked rumours that the Senator might be thinking about a 2012 run after all.
In a January 26 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, DeMint quashed the speculation, saying, point-blank, that he was not going to run in for president next year.
But on January 27 CNN reported that advisors said DeMint might make a run for the presidency if no other candidate is sufficiently conservative. Later that day, however, DeMint advisor Matt Hoskins reiterated to CNN that the Senator has “absolutely no plans to run for president.”
The bottom line is DeMint’s not running. But he’s not not running either.
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