Mitt Romney’s slide from being the presumptive front-runner to duking it out with Newt Gingrich over the GOP presidential nomination may be making some establishment Republicans nervous.
But not Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, or so he says.
Heck was an early backer of Romney in this campaign and in 2008. He said he sees no need for panic now that the complexion of the race has changed following Gingrich’s primary victory in South Carolina last Saturday.
"The complexion of the race really hasn’t changed," Heck insisted Tuesday night when asked if he is doing anything additional now for his candidate as Gingrich suddenly is expanding his efforts in Nevada in advance of the Feb. 4 caucuses. Ron Paul also has been organizing in the Silver State.
"The Romney campaign never really had South Carolina on the books as a win. That was not a state they were counting on winning to begin with," Heck said. "The campaign is continuing with the plan it had. It would have been nice to have South Carolina, but it was not in the initial calculus."
Romney "won’t lose Florida," Heck declared flatly, although he stopped short of making it a Namath-style guarantee.
The latest Florida poll, announced this morning by Quinnipiac University, had Gingrich closing within two percentage points of Romney, 36 percent to 34 percent. The state’s primary is Jan. 31.