Sen. Jim DeMint, the influential South Carolina Republican, believes Republican Mitt Romney will win his state.
"I think Romney's going to win here," DeMint told radio host Mark Levin. "It's possible that (Newt) Gingrich or (Rick) Santorum might make another run at it here. Perry's spending some time here. But he doesn't seem to be getting any type of traction run of things."
If Romney wins South Carolina (where Gov. Nikki Haley has endorsed him), he'll be 3-0 heading into Florida, where he's already leading. A South Carolina win after New Hampshire and Iowa would all but ensure a Florida win, considering the considerable effort Romney's making in the Sunshine state.
And a 4-0 Romney would be the de facto nominee. Only Ron Paul is likely to have a shot at staying in. Not a shot at winning, but a shot at staying in. And Paul's skipping Florida.
DeMint, who's remaining neutral, said last night after the New Hampshire vote:
“I was just sitting here listening to Romney 's acceptance speech, and he’s hitting a lot of the hot buttons for me about balancing the budget. Frankly I’m a little concerned about the few Republicans who have criticized some of what I consider free market principles here.”
DeMint said he was concerned that Gingrich and Perry, whom he didn't name, were trashing Romney for his success at Bain Capital as a venture capitalist.
"I certainly don't like Republicans criticizing one of our own and sounding like Democrats," DeMint said, repeating later: "It really worries me when some Republicans start sounding like Democrats."