South Carolina’s Professional Political Class Won’t Want a DeMint Bid

Over the weekend, one of the big rumors is the possibility of a 2012 bid from Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican:

Aides to U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said last week that DeMint will attend a March conference in Des Moines.

Ann Trimble-Ray, a spokeswoman for the conservative western Iowa congressman, called the event a “daylong conference for Iowa conservatives.” It will be held March 26.

DeMint — a leading voice for conservatives, especially those in the Tea Party movement — has been mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, interest he has disclaimed.

But his visit to Iowa likely will re-spark speculation about his possible presidential plans, thanks to Iowa’s role as the first state to hold presidential caucuses. The event is also unusual for King, because it is being held in Des Moines rather than his western Iowa district.

However, it’s worth considering this cautionary note from one of my regulars, a GOP consultant who works in a key primary state:

Does Jim DeMint really understand what he’s stepping into? A few people have tweeted about how some South Carolina folk might oppose the idea of him running for president because it might “diminish” South Carolina’s “importance” in the nominating process. “Importance” isn’t what it’s about. It’s about money. If Jim DeMint runs, nobody in South Carolina makes any money off the Presidential campaign. The state’s campaign would be like when Tom Harkin ran for president in Iowa…dullsville [and a foregone conclusion]. Nobody makes money. If DeMint goes too far with this, expect some “scandal” to crop up. It won’t involve hiking the Appalachian Trail, but they’ll find something…

The South Carolina GOP gubernatorial primary experience of Nikki Haley demonstrated that vicious, unverified allegations against front-running Republicans are an unfortunate fact of political life in the Palmetto State…

UPDATE: Jeff Dobbs writes in with a grand compromise: “Run, Jim, Run! But only on one, very specific and critical condition: DeMint must resign his Senate seat, and Governor Haley must commit to appointing Alvin Greene as his replacement. Otherwise, I’m not interested.”

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