(CBS News) Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who voted for Newt Gingrich earlier this month, said on "CBS This Morning" Thursday that Republicans may coalesce around front-runner Mitt Romney "soon."
"Pretty soon the Republican voters are going to have to coalesce behind somebody. Haven't done that. But maybe we are on the verge of that," Barbour told Erica Hill and Charlie Rose.
Asked if he was prepared to follow former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's lead and publicly back Romney, Barbour said he might do so "once this is over," but it is not yet over. Bush endorsed Romney Wednesday.
Special Section: Election 2012
"The fact of the matter is, Romney now has a chance, again, to build on Illinois and get people to coalesce behind him. And, you know, that may or may not happen, but that is really up to the Republican voters. You've got to trust the voters," said Barbour, a former head of the Republican National Committee
The former Massachusetts governor easily defeated former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in Illinois on Tuesday, widening his lead in the crucial delegate count.
Romney now has more than 500 of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, while Santorum has more than 200.