Mitt Romney Biggest Draw on Summer Campaign Trail

Sunday, 03 Aug 2014 09:38 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Mitt Romney may not have won the presidency in 2012, but his support is being courted by Republican candidates in elections as his polling numbers and popularity continue to climb while President Barack Obama's plummets.

Democratic candidates are keeping their distance from Obama and his unpopular policies, particularly Obamacare. But Romney has assumed a de-facto role as the Republican Party's elder statesman, reports The Washington Post.

Romney's dance card is filling quickly as the November midterms approach. This month, the former GOP presidential nominee will travel to campaign for Republican Senate and governors' races in Arkansas, North Carolina, and West Virginia. In September, he'll head out to the traditionally presidential swing states in Colorado and Virginia.

In October, Romney is weighing trips to campaign for Senate candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well to other battlegrounds as Republicans fight to regain the Senate this fall. He'll also appear on a television ad in one high-profile campaign, an unnamed source told The Post.

Spencer Zwick, a longtime confidant who chaired Romney's national finance council, says it's unexpected for someone who lost a presidential campaign to remain so popular with party members.

"Candidates, campaigns and donors in competitive races are calling saying, 'Can we get Mitt here?'" said Zwick. "They say, 'We’ve looked at the polling, and Mitt Romney moves the needle for us.'"

Romney's growing demand is also in part because the GOP lacks a consensus leader or popular former leader like the Democrats have with ex-President Bill Clinton.

His resurgence has many supporters urging him to run for the presidency a third time. However, Romney is adamant that he will not put his family through the rigors of a campaign once again, his former spokesman, Ryan Williams, told Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV.

"There are a number of people who really want him to run again because many of the things he said during the 2012 election, many of the warnings about Russia and Mali and the rise of the caliphate, have all come true," said Williams. "There's no question that if Gov. Romney ran again he'd be a strong candidate. He just doesn't want to do it."

Romney's endorsements, though, have helped establishment figures in his party defeat tea party challengers in this year's primary, and many of them believe he is the party's best chance to take the presidency in 2016, The Post reports.

"There is a movement afoot," said Republican Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, who Romney endorsed for reelection. "I’d tell him, ‘Governor Romney, people here in Wyoming and around the country would encourage you to take another look at it.'"

A CNN/ORC International poll last week
said Romney would win against Obama if he ran for election today. However, it said he'd lose by 55 percent to 42 percent to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But Democratic strategists say Republican candidates are misreading their potential constituents if they believe Romney is helping them.

"He is a walking, talking caricature of a Republican Party that favors only the very rich and big powerful corporations at a cost to middle-class families," Matt Canter, deputy executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told The Post.

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