Normally the early endorsement by a Congressman isn’t a big deal, but in this case it is. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) has endorsed Tim Pawlenty.
Wilson represents perhaps the most important Republican county in South Carolina – Lexington. Even more important, Wilson is an experienced ground gamer who has been running campaigns in the Palmetto State for decades. He is fast becoming the elder statesman of South Carolina Republican politics. Nobody wins the GOP nomination without winning South Carolina. It doesn’t happen. Candidates can lose Iowa (1988) and New Hampshire (1996 and 2000) and still win the nomination if they win South Carolina. I wrote at PJM:
Pro-business mainstream conservatives who give no offense to evangelicals and mainline Protestants — and, ideally, who have demonstrable national security credibility — are the candidates who win the South Carolina primary. Everyone wondering who will be the GOP nominee in 2012 should read that last sentence ten times over. Failure on any point means failure in South Carolina.