Now that Mitt Romney has announced he will not make a third White House run, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is the leader in an early South Carolina poll.
Romney made his announcement on Friday, and a Gravis poll conducted January 21-22 actually found Romney in the lead in the first-in-the-South primary state with 20%. Bush, who leads without Romney in the field, received 18%. Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was in third at 9% while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee received 8% along with Sen. Ted Cruz. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) received 7% each. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was at 5% while former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry received 4% each.
Without Romney in the field, Bush led the field with 18%, and he was followed by Huckabee and Walker with 8% each. Cruz was next with 9%.
In 2012, Romney lost the first-in-the-South primary to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Bush has indicated that he will use his family’s network in the Palmetto State to compete strongly in South Carolina if he formally enters the race.