Who: Mitt Romney, One of the Republican frontrunners for President
Where: on 214 E. Butler Road in Mauldin
When: 12:45 p.m.
Where to Follow: On Twitter @MauldinPatch
Although in the Upstate in nearly six months and only been in the state three times, Mitt Romney has not been far from South Carolina voters’ minds. But that’s .
By now, the criticisms of the former Massachusetts governor are familiar — he’s a and he’s prone to being, one might say, flexible, on some issues that are at the core of conservative doctrine. Romney’s strengths are equally known — he can raise money and .
While Romney’s positions on some issues might have changed, his polling numbers in the Palmetto State largely have not. He’s been between 22 and 28 percent for most of the race, with the in South Carolina showing him in a statistical dead heat with Herman Cain. No other candidate has been so consistent with voters.
Indeed, Romney will come to Mauldin while his competitors are struggling, Herman Cain is . Rick Perry’s . Ron Paul is having trouble moving beyond his base. Michele Bachmann faded in the polls almost as quickly as she rose. Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman have not caught on. But primary races are nothing if not unpredictable. How unpredictable? Newt Gingrich, , may prove to be Romney’s strongest challenger.
Romney has earned the support of and former GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty, who endorsed Romney at a speech in Charleston. Romney has also been endorsed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a once-possible rival. This weekend, Christie is expected to campaign on Romney’s behalf in Iowa.
Given the present landscape, it’s possible that the Romney campaign would be content with a second-place finish in South Carolina. It is competitive in Iowa and, short of a scandal, will win New Hampshire with ease. In the early primary states after South Carolina — Florida and Nevada — Romney is at or near the top. The Romney team would never admit is much, but it doesn’t need to win here as much as some of the other contenders.
Still, there are a large number of voters in South Carolina for whom Romney is similar to Santa Claus — someone they’ve heard a lot about, but never actually seen. Romney won’t come to Mauldin bearing gifts, however. Instead, he’ll be looking for them in the form of votes.
Note: Follow Mitt Romney's visit to Mauldin on Twitter @MauldinPatch.