CNN – Barbour stopping by South Carolina … “another key early voting state”

Washington (CNN) – Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, one of several Republicans thought to be considering a White House bid in 2012, is making another trip to a key early voting state.

Barbour, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will visit South Carolina on March 15 to keynote the Spartanburg County GOP’s annual President’s Day dinner. Spartanburg County GOP Chairwoman LaDonna Ryggs told CNN that the event – which she described as “a very large fundraiser” – was re-scheduled from its original date in February.

Barbour has already made trips in recent months to the presidential proving grounds of Iowa and New Hampshire, but at the time he said those trips were part of his duties as RGA chairman. South Carolina will elect a new governor in November.

One of Barbour’s political confidantes said it’s understandable the governor’s political travels will raise suspicions about a possible 2012 bid, but said Barbour is genuinely focused of winning governor’s races this fall.

“It’s natural that people will make some assumptions because South Carolina is an early primary state, but if it had been Alabama or Florida or some other state, he would have been just as eager to go,” said the person close to Barbour, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about his thinking. “It is who is he is. He loves going to these things. He calls it political recreation.”

CNN
2/8/10