Romney Embraces Role as Republican Party Elder in Midterms

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014 11:43 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Mitt Romney may have lost the presidency in 2012, but he didn’t lose his concern for the direction America is headed, according to The National Journal.

Romney has become the GOP’s de facto party elder, reports CNN, with his endorsements and in some cases taking to the campaign trial for Republican candidates in the midterm elections, is a highly coveted coup.

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So far, he’s 6-0 in his support for candidates in contested primaries, according to the National, Journal, including politicians in places such as Iowa, Oregon, and Idaho, where  the latest Romney-anointed candidate — Rep. Mike Simpson — beat tea party challenger Bryan Smith, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce aired an ad starring Romney.

With a reputation for being "risk averse," Romney "has eagerly put his reputation on the line, backing candidates in next month's primaries who face challenging odds," the  Journal writes.

"He's not afraid to make a choice," said Tom Rath, a Romney adviser. "He sees a candidate who he thinks will be good and have a shot at winning, he's going to get involved. He's a very smart guy. He understands the process now, and sees the difference outside validation can make if it's done the right away and it's done early enough."

Washington Post political writer Dan Balz theorized in a column in March that "somewhat conservative" Republicans, such as Romney, are the bedrock of the party and are the types of candidates Romney is supporting this election cycle.

"Somewhat conservative" members of the GOP "like candidates with governing experience who have conservative values but do not push radical policies and are optimistic about the country. They reject culture warriors," according to the Post.

Thus far, according to CNN, Romney has endorsed or financially supported nearly 20 candidates. With the last two Republican presidents – George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush – shunning the political spotlight, Romney has risen to the senior GOP slot, a position he is embracing.

He hosted business and GOP leaders at his Park City, Utah, home last year and headlined a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican party last summer.

"Mitt's the closest thing we have to a party elder right now, someone who's been through the fire," Rath told the Journal. "His stature is presidential, and I think people miss that. He lost an election, but he didn't lose interest. He really does have concern about the direction the country's headed."

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