Signals indicate that a Mitt Romney GOP presidential candidacy is just around the spring-time corner. Who are the powerhouses standing in the wings waiting to raise the curtain and turn the spotlight on his nationwide campaign?
Here’s a backstage look at three individuals who rolled up their sleeves in the past to help Governor Romney and who are willing to do so again. Names you may be familiar with, they now comprise the three year old, noteworthy Shawmut Group – Peter Flaherty, Beth Myers, and Eric Fehrnstrom. Shawmut was formed after Romney’s presidential efforts ended in 2008, and when the time comes, they’re ready to help put Governor Romney center stage:
The Shawmut Group’s principals are Flaherty, Myers, and Eric Fehrnstrom. [...]The trio worked in and around Massachusetts politics and public service in the 1980s and 1990s before coming together as the Romney camp claimed Beacon Hill. Their skill sets compliment each other, as do their personalities and, after working together for the past eight years, Flaherty, Fehrnstrom and Myers say they have become like a family. For it to work, they said, their relationship with the client has to be seamless, as well.
Senator Scott Brown and Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC are Shawmut clients:
One of their first clients was Brown, who quickly evolved from little known state Senator from Wrentham to the truck-driving everyman overcoming the odds to claim the U.S. Senate seat long held by Ted Kennedy, the senate’s liberal lion.
“He was a canary in the coalmine for what was going on in Washington,” said Beth Myers, one of three principals for the Shawmut Group. “Scott was the first Republican to come out of this cycle.”
Another key client is Romney and his PAC, which is devoted to supporting Republican candidates and conservative principles.
“We were a real force in the last two election cycles,” Myers, a Brookline resident, said.
[...] “It has to be a good fit,” said Flaherty. “When you have a client like Mitt Romney or Scott Brown, it makes it an easier relationship.”
Brown’s election was good for Republicans across the country, and it was good for the Shawmut Group’s business development. They were in-demand during the past election cycle and worked with several candidates, in addition to those supported by Romney’s PAC.
“[Brown’s] election really changed the political landscape,” said Flaherty. “It gave a lot of would-be candidates a reason to believe.”
[...] Republicans who are loyal to the party, Fehrnstrom, Flaherty and Myers were drawn to Romney because they believe he is the kind of leader they want running the country they will turn over to their children. And their relationship with Brown began when Romney supported him as a candidate for the state Senate.
Ofttimes, when Republican campaigns have unfolded and voters have compared candidates, more than afew have trivialized the uphill challenges faced by those who have vied to lead blue-blue states versus red states (RINO). The realities of the history, traditions, mind-set, and expectations of ‘blue-blue’ constituencies – compared to ‘red’ constituencies -have made blue-blue victories (and subsequent governance) a very daunting task.
“People who come out of Republican politics in Massachusetts are a different breed than those who come out of more traditionally Republican states,” said Fehrnstrom. “I think it makes you more aggressive, thicker-skinned and a better all-around strategic thinker. … When a Republican wins in Massachusetts, it’s never a cakewalk, but we’re not complaining about it.”
Brown and Romney winning office were big deals, both here and on a national scale. However, the lack of press and nature of coverage during Brown’s latest primary indicated just how blue the commonwealth can be.
On primary night, Dec. 8, 2009, the Shawmut team was in Brown’s suite awaiting the result — just them and the family — and found themselves assuring their client the coverage from there out would be 50-50. The next morning, however, a Boston daily splashed an “It’s Coakley” headline across the front page.
“And you had to go to like page 27 of the Metro section to see Scott,” said Flaherty. “As far as your client goes, it can be pretty tough sledding when there is no focus or coverage.”
But they were able to turn that around thanks to some morale building, creative advertising, and an energetic candidate with a truck who didn’t quit. The race really began to turn after a Rasmussen poll showed Brown narrowing the gap to 9 percent, and then Fehrnstrom designed the killer Kennedy-morphs-into-Brown campaign ad.
“It made the point that Eric wanted it to,” Myers said. “It was bold, and it got people’s attention.”
What’s next on the docket for The Shawmut Group? They’ll be promoting Senator Brown’s new book, Against All Odds, and Governor Romney’s paperback version of No Apology: The Case For American Greatness (a must-read for anyone serious about presidential politics!). Romney’s paperback will be released on February 1st and coincides with his appearance on The View that same day.
Governor Romney’s choice of seasoned individuals such as Ferhnstrom, Myers, and Flaherty, along with recent dynamic newcomers (with more to come), ensure he’ll have a stellar cast to help him with the challenges of cinching the White House title role.
Looking forward to getting this show on the road! Any exact-date guesses as to when the BIG announcement will be?
UPDATE – From DenverPost.com re Colorado political operative Rich Beeson, a new hire for Romney (see ‘newcomers’ link above):
“A GOP source who worked against Romney in the last campaign said Beeson was a savvy hire for Romney’s team, as he brings an outsider perspective to Romney’s Boston inner circle,” RCPolitics reported.
“Rich is one of the best operatives in the country,” said former state Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction. “Good news for Romney, bad news for everyone else.”
► Jayde Wyatt