Maybe former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney isn't ignoring the Palmetto State after all. A key visit and a key endorsement could be just around the corner.
The Advisory Committee of the American Principles Project Palmetto Freedom Forum announced Tuesday that Romney will participate in the candidate forum to be hosted on Labor Day by Sen. Jim Demint in South Carolina.
"Having full participation from all declared candidates who qualified for the forum proves once again how critical South Carolina is in choosing the next president," Demint said in a prepared statement. "This forum will provide a unique opportunity for candidates to discuss their commitment to America's first principles and how we can move our country forward again."
Romney has not made an appearance in South Carolina this campaign season, focusing instead on New Hampshire and Iowa.
Patch reported last week that Romney had not responded to an invitation to the forum.
Former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry said last week they would attend the forum scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
Sources tell Patch that Romney may also pick up a key endorsement during the trip from Republican S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis.
Loftis, speaking to Patch on Tuesday night from a state treasurers' conference in North Dakota, said the decision of whom to endorse has not been made, but could be soon. He said he was planning to speak to Romney this weekend.
But speaking about the former Massachusetts governor, Loftis sounded as though he was certainly leaning.
"Romney is the only candidate who can beat Obama," he said. "The goal is not to get the candidate who can win S.C., but can win states like Pennsylvania and Colorado.
"I've been speaking to a lot of tea party members who are very pragmatic. They don't want to finish second in November 2012."
For those who don't remember, Romney endorsed Loftis for the treasurer post in 2010.
A Tuesday morning posted on The Hill said Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michelle Bachmann were the early favorites in South Carolina.