Key Perry supporter will back Romney
January 19th, 2012
12:52 PM ET
2 years ago

Key Perry supporter will back Romney

Charleston, SC (CNN) – One of Rick Perry's most well-known supporters in South Carolina, former U.S. ambassador and state speaker of the house David Wilkins, will now back Mitt Romney, he tells CNN.

Perry has endorsed Newt Gingrich but Wilkins' decision illustrates that his key allies in the Palmetto State are not necessarily following suit.

Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

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Wilkins said he is thinking about November.

"I think (Romney) is by far our best chance to take back the White House," Wilkins told CNN, "With the economy like it is we need somebody with business experience. I think he can do more for America than anyone else."

The Greenville Republican served as speaker of the house for 11 years, one of the longest tenures in state history. In 2000, his work as co-chairman of the George W. Bush campaign was seen as instrumental to putting that Texas leader on the map in South Carolina.

As president, Bush appointed Wilkins to serve as ambassador to Canada. At the time he and his wife, Susan, met the Romneys and Wilkins said they left with very positive impressions.

Wilkins endorsed Perry in August, just days after the Texan announced his candidacy. But in the past few weeks the South Carolina leader publicly said he was uncomfortable with Perry's attacks on Mitt Romney's business career with Bain Capital.

Wilkins, now with team Romney, says that business experience is one of the candidate's best assets.

Also see:

FIRST ON CNN: Perry dropping out of GOP race

Polls: South Carolina primary tightening hours before crucial debate

Gingrich as compares Romney's 'desperate' attacks to 2008 campaign

Romney the establishment, Santorum the 'rebel,' ad says


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Where's mr demented, the tea bagger king? I see that he has not endorsed anyone and probably won't. I think his tea baggers have enough problems as it is staying afloat.

    January 19, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "Wilkins, now with team Romney, says that business experience is one of the candidate's best assets."

    Business experience? Don't they celebrate Christmas in SC? Haven't they ever heard of Ebenezer Scrooge? Scrooge doesn't make a good mayor, and he would be an even worse President.

    January 19, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Backfiring on ol' Newt huh???!!!

    January 19, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The new republican bumper stickers will include, "Corporations Are People, Too," "Off Shore Is Not Just For Drilling," "15% Is Too High For the 1%," and "Money Is Better Than a Job."

    January 19, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    "As president, Bush appointed Wilkins to serve as ambassador to Canada. At the time he and his wife, Susan, met the Romneys and Wilkins said they left with very positive impressions.

    Wilkins endorsed Perry in August, just days after the Texan announced his candidacy....."
    ---------
    If he was so impressed with Romney, then why did he jump on board with Perry so quickly?

    January 19, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Thomas

    @Wire Palladin, S. F.
    The new republican bumper stickers will include, "Corporations Are People, Too," "Off Shore Is Not Just For Drilling," "15% Is Too High For the 1%," and "Money Is Better Than a Job."

    I like the sticker, " Mitts 5 Sons Avoided Military service " The 1% make money on wars , the middle class people pay for them.

    January 19, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. alkarrk

    Good. Go Mitt! I can't believe how fast people can forget what an awful person Newt is, just because he performs well at debates. There is no way Newt could beat Obama with his baggage. Wake up, Republicans–it's Mitt Romney 2012!

    January 19, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    His endorsements another example , Almost 90% G,W.Bush staffs support Mitt Romney

    January 19, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Satberry

    Willard is someone who stands for nothing,but somehow stands for every issue.He is the most disgusting politician.He is a wimp.

    January 19, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. westward

    The dumb figure head has some dumber supporters. Not rocket science here, folks.

    January 19, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Those that were to be the darlings of the tea people are slowing falling down. Bachmann and Perry are gone. This is because the anti-Washington stance isn't sustainable. Work needs to be done from inside mostly. If those that were elected to do the people's work and can't be flexible enough to understand what the greater good is for the country rather than their partisan political ideas, then they will fail.

    January 19, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Go Newt! I can't believe how fast people can forget what an awful person Mitt is,

    January 19, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |