One day after South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint seemed to open the door to a presidential bid in 2012, a top aide slammed it shut this morning in a statement to the Fix.
“Nothing has changed,” said Matt Hoskins, spokesman for DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund. “He was being respectful to everyone who has urged him to run. His heart is in the Senate where he’s been very effective in terms of advancing conservative principles and helping elect conservative leaders.”
Hoskins’ comments come after DeMint himself told the Hill newspaper that “out of respect for the people who have asked us to think about this, that’s what we’re going to do.”
DeMint had previously ruled out a run for president in late March although the field has shifted considerably since then with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels both deciding not to run.
Had he opted to enter the race, Demint would be an immediate favorite in the Palmetto State primary, which, at this point, is a wide open affair. His ties to the tea party and outspoken conservatism in the Senate would also make him a potential force to be reckoned with in the primary process.
Assuming Demint is content to stay on the sidelines, his will be a coveted endorsement for all of the 2012 aspirants. In the 2008 campaign, Demint endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney . Romney finished fourth in the primary.