Texas Gov. Rick Perry will not attend the Sen. Jim DeMint’s Palmetto Freedom Forum of GOP candidates tonight because he is returning to Texas to deal with wildfires that have killed at least two people, destroyed hundreds of homes, and continue to race through thousands of acres.
Ray Sullivan, Perry's campaign communications secretary, says Perry has been monitoring the situation in Texas, where a woman and her 18-month-old daughter died in a fire Sunday.
"He is in contact with emergency operations personnel and others on the ground in fire-affected Texas communities," Sullivan said.
One of the blazes, southeast of Austin, has destroyed about 300 homes and has burned thousands of acres as it has raged unchecked through parched ranchland along a 16-mile front.
Other declared Republican presidential candidates invited to DeMint’s forum in Columbia, S.C., include Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich.
As for DeMint, don’t tune in expecting him to endorse one of the candidates, because the tea party favorite said Sunday he won’t be doing that.
“I’m not counting any of them out at this point,” DeMint said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.
Earlier on CNN’s “State of the Union,” DeMint said, “There's no one in the group that I couldn’t support as our nominee, and there’s no one who would not do a better job than our current president.”
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