Ron Paul appears at a rally in West Columbia, SC on Jan. 11, 2012. (Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Columbia, SC (USA Today/Gannett) -- A leading Tea Party favorite in South Carolina says Ron Paul's anti-war message could be a factor in the state's Jan. 21 presidential primary.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney, one of the dozens of GOP freshmen elected with Tea Party support, talked to USA TODAY's congressional reporter Susan Davis about politics in his home state.
Mulvaney, who is backing Rick Perry, said the primary outlook is "an extremely fluid situation" with a significant swath of voters in the Palmetto State undecided. He was pleased a Perry event at a South Carolina retirement home drew 300 attendees for the Texas governor, who needs a strong showing in the state's primary to keep his campaign afloat.
Mulvaney noted Paul, a Texas congressman, could be a factor. "There's certainly a libertarian, independent streak in South Carolina," Mulvaney told Susan.
"He speaks to a lot of folks down here," he said, noting that Paul's foreign policy views -- which some of his GOP rivals have called "dangerous" -- have traction. "There's a certain war weariness in this state as well."