Roll Call’s David M. Drucker reports today that Jim DeMint is likely to endorse Mitt Romney:
DeMint, who endorsed the former Massachusetts governor in 2008, made clear in an interview late last week that he has made no decisions on whom he will support in the 2012 primary. But Republican operatives familiar with the DeMint-Romney relationship and privy to the conservative Senator’s private assessment of the GOP field believe Romney is the most likely candidate to receive the backing of the tea party favorite.
“Jim is far more likely to endorse Mitt than anyone else currently in the race,” a Republican with South Carolina ties said. “Jim is a business guy and that’s his background. He’s not really the good ol’ boy conservative type. So Mitt in a lot of ways is a more comfortable fit for him.”
But DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton pushed back in a statement to Politico. “That story is a fabrication made up of anonymous sources that obviously have no clue what Senator DeMint is thinking. He has said over and over again that he is not leaning toward any candidate yet and may end up not endorsing in the presidential race,” Denton said. Drucker acknowledged Denton’s pushback in a tweet, but added that he “stand[s] by” the story.
In June, DeMint told NRO that Romney was a “good candidate” and that he would not “hold any one or two things against a candidate that they’ve done,” a hint that he did not view Romney’s Massachussetts health-care program as a deal-breaker when it came to making his endorsement decision.