Lee meets with Romney; no endorsement yet

Published March 22, 2012 2:51 pm

Politics • Senator is lone holdout among Utah's GOP members of Congress in backing hopeful.
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Washington • Sen. Mike Lee sat down with presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday but is still withholding an endorsement, Lee's office said.

Lee and a handful of fellow Republicans met with Romney in Washington as part of the former Massachusetts governor's outreach to conservatives, according to Lee spokesman Brian Phillips.

Lee is still not endorsing anyone in the Republican field for now, Phillips added.

Romney's campaign is "still pushing for conservative support and that was obviously the motivation behind the meeting," Phillips added.

While he didn't attract any new endorsements — or at least none that was immediately publicized — Romney may be attracting some support that he previously lacked with the conservative flank in Congress.

Sen. Jim DeMint, a tea party luminary, was in the same meeting as Lee and told CNN after that he's "excited" about Romney as the GOP presidential nominee.

"I can tell conservatives from my perspective… that, I'm not only comfortable with Romney, I'm excited about the possibility of him possibly being our nominee," DeMint, R-S.C., told the news outlet. "Again, this is not a formal endorsement and I do not intend to do that right now, but I just think we just need to look at where we are."

Lee is the lone holdout among Utah's Republican members of Congress; Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz are backing Romney.