It’s official: U.S. Rep. Tim Scott will remain on the fence during this year’s presidential primary race.
The first-term Lowcountry Republican said earlier this week he still was looking at three candidates and might throw his support behind one of them before South Carolina voters go to the polls Saturday.
But he said today that Thursday night’s debate didn’t clarify his thinking and he still is deciding who he will vote for tomorrow.
“At this late date, I’m not sure how much my endorsement would mean,” he added.
Scott predicted former Speaker Newt Gingrich will win tomorrow “in a photo finish.” He also predicted 25 percent or more of state voters will vote for someone other than who they planned to support a week or two ago.
Scott offered kind words for both Gingrich and his fellow frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Scott said Romney’s strong organization, good campaign structure and deep resources make him best positioned in the long-run, but Scott also admired Gingrich’s resiliency.
“Newt has shown himself to be incredibly capable under pressure, under fire,” Scott said. “Whoever our nominee is in the fall will be under pressure, under fire.”
Scott held a series of presidential town halls in his coastal congressional district and was able to secure the participation of seven of the party’s eight major candidates. Only Texas Rep. Ron Paul did not take Scott up on his offer, though Paul’s campaign was trying to make such an event work as recently as this week.
The success of that town hall series — and Scott’s ability to satisfy both his tea party base and Congress’s Republican leadership —prompted Scott to form his own political action committee, TIM-PAC, earlier this week. He also was named by GQ magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in Washington, a list that included politicians, prominent staffers and other celebrities.