News that “South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint will travel to Iowa on March 26 to address a conservative forum organized by Rep. Steve King is sparking another round of chatter that DeMint might launch a dark horse bid for the White House in 2012,” CNN reports.
The Republican gadfly has been adamant in denying such intentions for more than a year – just Wednesday, he gave CNN’s Wolf Blitzer a flat "No" when asked if he plans to seek his party’s presidential nomination.
But the ground may be shifting in DeMint-world, and several of his closest advisers and political confidantes are now telling CNN that he is at least open to a presidential bid if a suitably conservative candidate fails to emerge from the early and wide-open GOP field.
"I think that you can read into it that he sees he has a role in the process and he sees he hasn’t completely shut the door," said one DeMint adviser asked about the Iowa foray.
DeMint currently sees his role in the 2012 process, the adviser said, as "setting the bar high" for the presidential contenders when it comes to advocating for a small government agenda.
"He hasn’t completely shut the door on running, and if there was a situation where there is a massive void in the group of candidates, who knows what would happen?," said the adviser, who was quick to caution that there is only a five percent chance his boss will run.
News that DeMint was traveling to Iowa was first reported by the Iowa Republican.