Romney, Not That Interested in Tea Party Votes, Will Skip DeMint's Forum

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will skip the presidential candidate forum being held by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), The Washington Post reports, avoiding the pressure exerted on the GOP field by a tea-party kingmaker:

"He will be in South Carolina enough to show that he is the best candidate to beat [President] Obama on jobs and the economy," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul, adding that Romney will probably campaign in the state in September.

Romney visited the state a few times as a prospective candidate, but not since he announced his candidacy in June. His wife campaigned there in July. ...

In contrast, Perry launched his campaign in South Carolina, which has a record of picking the eventual nominee that goes back to 1980. Perry will appear at the Columbia forum, along with former pizza executive Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

DeMint has become a kind of tea-party godfather in Congress, if there is such a thing. In the 2010 elections, his political group promoted tea-party Senate candidates across the country, as they pulled off a wave of surprising primary wins. Romney probably isn't going to win South Carolina, and, more broadly, he's probably not going to win the kind of tea-party votes nationwide that DeMint represents. He hasn't overexerted himself to secure them -- even as other candidates have strained, at times, to appear more fiscally conservative and tonally aggressive -- and this decision seems to fit with his approach to the tea party in general.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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