Eyes on GOP Primaries: CA, MT, NJ, NM, SD – Romney Supports Walker in WI Recall

Governor Mitt Romney speaks with supporters of Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker before making phone calls on his behalf at a phone bank in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. March 31, 2012 (Photo Darren Hauck/Reuters)


Romney supporters are tuned in to today’s lively political action.

Primary elections in five states, and a recall election with national implications in another state, are spurring voters to the polls.

Governor Mitt Romney officially became the GOP presidential nominee last week and voters will award additional delegates in California (172 delegates), Montana (26 delegates), New Jersey (50 delegates), New Mexico (23 delegates), and South Dakota (28 delegates).

We encourage Romney supporters to cast their votes in The Five today and show The Gov a lot of love with a resounding across-the-board victory!

Eyes are on the contentious recall effort (which began last November) against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. After months of acrimony over needed public union restrictions, which Walker campaigned on and enacted, the rematch with Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett (who Walker bested in a GOP sweep of the state in 2010), will be determined by voters today in The Badger State.

A couple of months ago, Governor Romney, accompanied by Rep. Paul Ryan, expressed his support for Walker during stops in Wisconsin:

Mitt Romney used a Wednesday tele-town hall with Wisconsin voters to give a strong endorsement to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who is fighting off a recall effort led by Democrats.

“Gov. Walker is, in my opinion, an excellent governor,” Romney said, according to a report by ABC News.

“And I believe that he is right to stand up for the citizens of Wisconsin and to insist that those people who are working in the public sector unions have rights to affect their wages but that these benefits and retiree benefits have fallen out of line with the capacity of the state to pay them.”

“And so I support the governor in his effort to rein in the excesses that have permeated the public sector union and government negotiations over the years,” Romney said.

Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, also talked about other states that have passed legislation aimed at curbing collective bargaining.

“The state of Indiana, even my home state of Massachusetts, has reined in the collective bargaining excesses associated with retirement benefits for future retirees,” Romney said.

Governor Romney praised Gov Walker as he traveled through small towns and cities across Wisconsin. He also stopped by a phone bank in Fitchburg, WI, and made calls on the embattled Governor’s behalf.

In U.S. News Weekly, Mary Kate Cary writes about three reasons why the Walker recall election matters:

First reason:

Walker is proving that struggling states can turn their economies around, and that fiscal conservatism works.

Walker eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit and balanced the budget without raising taxes. He did it by asking public employees to contribute, like the rest of us do, to their healthcare costs and pension funds—a move which prevented teachers, firemen, and police from being laid off. Unemployment in Wisconsin is below 7 percent for the first time since 2008, and joblessness there is now below the national average. Plus Wisconsin’s public employee retirement system is now fully funded. Unfunded pensions are a big deal in many states, and could cost taxpayers in many states millions in new taxes.

…[R]ecently polled Wisconsin voters … found overwhelming support for many of Walker’s policies:

72 percent favor asking public sector workers to increase their pension contributions from less than 1 percent to 6 percent of their salaries.
71 percent favor making government employees pay 12 percent of their own healthcare premiums instead of the previous 6 percent.
Police and firefighters were exempted from the pension and healthcare adjustments but 57 percent of taxpayers say they should not have been.
65 percent say public sector workers receive better pension and health care benefits than private sector workers.

When asked what state and local officials should do if pensions and health benefits are underfunded, 74 percent favor requiring government employees to pay more for their own healthcare and retirement benefits. In sharp contrast, 75 percent oppose cutting funding for programs like education and 74 percent oppose raising taxes to help fund government worker benefits.

Second reason:

The recall election spells big trouble for unions, especially public employee unions.

When recall supporters first garnered nearly a million signatures in order to get on the ballot, the unions were ecstatic. They’ve poured millions into the state and bussed in thousands of volunteers, but as the issues in the race became clear, the union position came across as greedy and unreasonable. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told Politico that if Walker wins, it will be “a significant blow to the labor unions,” and will definitely embolden other Republican governors to take on labor unions in battles over collective bargaining. There’s a chance Democrats will win one of four state Senate recalls, which will give them control of the state Senate and a way to put the brakes on Walker. But no matter what happens in the Senate, Walker’s success has already sparked a round of recriminations between union leaders and top-level Democrats, who are avoiding the state. Obama endorsed Walker’s opponent the night he won the primary, but other than that has remained silent; the Democratic National Committee has refused to give the state party any money for the cause.

Third reason:

The recall fight exposes the flaws in the Obama campaign strategy.

Here’s how Kelly Steele, a strategist for We Are Wisconsin, the leading union-backed anti-Walker coalition put it a few months ago to Politico: “Scott Walker lied his way into office, and has since launched unprecedented attacks on Wisconsin’s working families, dividing the state like never before,” Steele said in an E-mail. “This historic recall is a … victory for Wisconsinites united to take their government back from wealthy special interests who bought and paid for Scott Walker and are dictating the terms of his extreme agenda.”

Sound familiar? Might as well be a page out of an Obama speech about Mitt Romney. Instead of defending the public employees unions’ position, We Are Wisconsin’s website now has talking points about the GOP “war on women.” Good grief.

The left in Wisconsin is pitching an angry, populist message to voters. So is Obama.

Scott Walker is a canary in a coal mine. If he wins, we’ll know that at least one state’s voters now view budget-balancing as something reasonable that needs to be done right. And we’ll know how they feel about the unions’ intransigence and angry rhetoric on entitlement reform. We’ll all be watching that canary on June 5 to see if it flies.

Walker’s Lt. Gov Rebecca Kleefisch, and three Republican state senators are also part of the recall election today. A fourth state senator targeted for recall resigned; a candidate from each party is vying for her empty seat. Democrats only need to win one seat to gain the majority in the State Senate.

Ten days ago, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (shrill Chair of the democratic National Committee) admitted the Wisconsin recall is a test run for the presidential election this fall. Sensing a possible defeat, Obama distanced himself from the brouhaha, but managed to chirp a tweet today.

The good news is Governor Walker is polling at about 7 points ahead of his opponent. Today’s results in The Badger State depends on which side has the best ground game and voter turn-out.

Best wishes today to both of these great guys!

Romney supporters are invited to join us on MRC’s chat forum this evening’s exciting election results.

Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

U.S. Senator John Thune Gives ‘Thumbs Up’ to Romney

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) will endorse Mitt Romney today. 11/23/11


How sweet it is…

It’s another big endorsement for Mitt Romney today – U.S. Senator John Thune:

Mitt Romney will pick up a national-level endorsement in Des Moines this morning when U.S. Sen. John Thune accompanies him on a presidential campaign visit, Romney aides told The Des Moines Register.

Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, made waves in 2004 by defeating incumbent Tom Daschle, who was the Democrats’ leader in the Senate. Earlier this year, his name was floated as a possible presidential contender, but he declined to run.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and national front-runner for the Republicans’ presidential nomination, said in a prepared statement that he was grateful for Thune’s support.

“On the issues that I have been fighting for in my campaign – creating a better business environment, lessening the regulatory burden, and ending Washington’s spending addiction – Senator Thune has been a leading voice in the Senate,” Romney said.

Thune’s accompanying statement stressed Romney’s ability to deal with economic troubles. “Mitt Romney has shown throughout his life in the private sector, as leader of the Olympics, as governor, and in this campaign that he will not back down from difficult challenges. His plans to revitalize the private sector and restore our country’s fiscal health are drawn from his 25 year career as a conservative businessman.”

Christopher Rants, a former Iowa House speaker from Sioux City, said Thune is widely respected as an articulate conservative. “I think that’s a great endorsement whether it’s here or elsewhere,” he said. “Thune may be a little bit better known in northwest Iowa than, say, Dubuque or Muscatine, but the reality is that Thune’s an up-and-comer, rising star in the party, period.” …

(emphasis added)

We love this endorsement. Thanks, Senator Thune!

Governor Romney is in Iowa today:

8:00 AM – Meeting with supporters
Des Moines, Iowa

9:30 AM – Speaking to employees at Nationwide Insurance
1100 Locust St., Des Moines, Iowa
12:30 PM

► Jayde Wyatt

Romney Speaks to 2,000 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (VIDEO)

Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the 105th annual Chamber of Commerce meeting was Mitt Romney’s destination yesterday. He delivered the keynote address before a friendly audience of nearly 2,000 attendees:

Romney: U.S. can fix its problems
Candidate talks politics at Chamber meeting
Oct. 19, 2011

The United States faces significant burdens, but the country has overcome past challenges by believing in itself and American exceptionalism, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Wednesday.

Counting the national debt and the nation’s entitlement programs, the country has obligations of $62 trillion. Meanwhile, the United States faces foreign challenges from Iran, China and a resurgent Russia.

Even so, Romney said he’s optimistic about the country’s future.be

“I believe in free enterprise and capitalism,” he said. “I believe in America.”
[...]
Romney praised business but did not talk specifically about his own experiences, which include founding investment firm Bain Capital, which is credited with launching or rebuilding hundreds of companies, including Staples, Domino’s Pizza and The Sports Authority.

He did compare his experience in the private sector with his four-year stint as governor. When businesses make a mistake, people lose their jobs and get hurt, he said. When governments make mistakes, they blame the other political party. Governments should encourage incentives on taxes, regulations and energy policy, but the people in government often don’t understand how to do that.

Romney did not address President Obama by name, but he criticized the president, saying almost everything he’s done in office has “made it more difficult for business to grow and thrive.” The health care overhaul, proposals to make it easier to form unions, financial reform and a cap-and-trade energy proposal have created uncertainty, and businesses won’t invest when there’s uncertainty, he said.

This economy has had a hard time rebooting because Washington doesn’t understand that it’s not the answer, it’s the problem,” he said, a line that drew applause.

News report (note audience size, video of entire speech below):


For the first time in this presidential campaign, Romney shared one of his favorite Olympic stories:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – … “There is a love of America and a passion for this country that burns in the hearts of our citizens,” said Romney to a crowd of nearly 2,000. “The great challenges we have we will overcome if we can draw on that passion and conviction of the greatness and goodness of America.

And we have leaders who will tell the truth and live with integrity, and who by virtue of their life experiences know how to lead and where to lead America,” he said. “And I very much want to be one of those leaders, with your help.”

Parra, who won both silver and gold medals in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, for which Romney served as the CEO of the organizing committee, was a staple of Romney’s repertoire during his last bid for the White House. Parra has been a longtime supporter of Romney’s and has already contributed money to the former Massachusetts’ governor’s presidential campaign this cycle.

Tonight, Romney recounted the story of when he chose Parra to be one of eight athletes to carry into the opening ceremony the American flag that had been at Ground Zero during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Parra later told Romney that it was the most meaningful moments of his Olympic games.

I’ve seen throughout my life the power of the American spirit,” said Romney.

(emphasis added )

Romney’s speech to the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce:

Before Romney delivered his speech he met with SD Governor Dennis Daugaard, his chief of staff Dusty Johnson, and Daugaard’s Commissioner for Economic Development Pat Costello.

► Jayde Wyatt