AIKEN — U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint has not endorsed a Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential race, and during Tuesday’s meeting of the Aiken Republican Club he remained noncommittal about who he thought would take the nomination.
DeMint has speculated that a surprise nominee might arise at the Republican National Convention in August, but on Tuesday he downplayed the odds of a brokered convention.
A convention is considered brokered when a candidate does not secure a majority of delegates during the primary process or the first round of voting at the convention.
“I don’t think it’s very likely,” DeMint told the Aiken audience. It would most likely happen if a last-minute scandal broke involving the front-runner in August, he said.
Still, he said he would not be surprised if another candidate emerged during the convention.
As DeMint left, an audience member asked what he thought of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels as nominee material at the convention.
“He’s the only one who could make it happen,” DeMint said. “But I don’t think his wife will let it happen.”
As he spoke on education, the economy and health care, DeMint said Republicans must maintain their unity to win in November.
“We as Republicans have got to pull the package together in a way that works,” he said. “This election is where we really need to step up.”
After the meeting, Mary Horne said she agrees with DeMint and believes true conservatism will win out in the presidential election. Horne said she voted for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary and expects he will be the nominee in August without a complicated convention process.
“I think he’s the most qualified and the only one who can win,” she said.
Horne said she believes legislators such as DeMint keep Washington focused on issues important to local voters and not just broad national platforms.
“He keeps standing up for conservative principles because he believes in it, and so do we,” she said.
Getting back to core conservative values is the only way that will work in 2012, DeMint said, and it begins with less federal control and more personal freedoms.
“We can never make this world perfect, but we can make it better by making our own decisions instead of letting Washington elite decide for us,” he said.