- (Photo: Reuters / Sean Gardner)
Mitt Romney is not only leading in the delegate count but is also amassing endorsements from some of the leading Republicans including former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush. What could be a sign that many in the Tea Party are soon to follow is that S.C. Sen. Jim DeMint has signaled his possible support as well.
DeMint, who has carved a niche as one of the senate's fiscal watchdogs, met with Romney last Thursday and afterwards said it was beginning to look like Romney would be the eventual nominee.
"They can drag it out to the convention if they want," DeMint told reporters after the meeting, "but I think if some of them look at where they are, the best thing they could do was maybe look at kind of throwing their support behind one who might be our nominee. It's beginning to look like Romney."
If DeMint were to eventually support Romney, it would not be a maiden voyage. The South Carolina Senator supported Romney in 2008 and much like the challenge the former Massachusetts governor faces this season, DeMint was going against the status quo by not supporting Arizona Sen. John McCain who was the nominee later that year.
Romney's biggest endorsement thus far has come from one of the Republican's royal families. Bush, who is the brother of former President George Bush and son to former President George H.W. Bush, threw his support behind Romney last week in an apparent signal that other mainstream Republicans who had not yet committed would soon follow suit.
And not only is Romney accumulating more heavyweights from the GOP, he is also tapping into support from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's home state.
On Tuesday morning the Romney campaign announced they have received the support of Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.
"It is time for Republicans to unite behind the one candidate who can defeat President Obama and end the failed policies of the last three years," said Congressman Fitzpatrick in a statement released by the Romney campaign. "Like many of my colleagues, I know Senator Santorum and respect the work he did for Pennsylvania but I am strongly supporting Mitt Romney."
Others notable Republicans who have recently climbed onto the Romney bandwagon include former Pennsylvania Gov. and former Sec. of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Al Cardenas, who heads up the American Conservative Union.
However, DeMint's endorsement could bring Tea Party leaders and grassroots soldiers – who have expressed concern over what some term as Romney's "less than stellar" conservative credentials, over to his side. Addressing the issue head-on, DeMint told reporters after his meeting with Romney, "I have never really questioned his conservative credentials."
Romney is in California campaigning on Tuesday and will end with day with an appearance on Jay Leno's nationally televised "Tonight Show."