Romney Aide Reveals ‘Real Mitt’, Superdelegates, Santorum Exiting?

Mitt Romney's aide, D.G. Jackson, is always nearby.

Taking a quick hop away from the bunny trail to bring you the latest…

Here’s an intriguing look at a day with Mitt Romney through the eyes of the guy I call ‘Shadow Man’. In political speak he’s known as Mitt’s ‘Body Man’ – Garret Jackson:

Starting the Day, and Ending It, at Romney’s Side
By Ashley Parker
April 6, 2012

MILWAUKEE — Garrett Jackson and Mitt Romney are stuck together like the
peanut butter and honey sandwiches they both love.

Mr. Jackson, 25, is Mr. Romney’s “body man,” the personal assistant who spends more time with the candidate than even Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, does. Mr. Jackson is often the first person to see Mr. Romney in the morning; the candidate is dressed and ready, waiting with his iPad, at least 15 minutes before Mr. Jackson arrives at his hotel room to fetch him. And Mr. Jackson is the last person to see Mr. Romney each night, before leaving him alone to call his wife and catch up with what Mr. Jackson calls “his fun books” — “The Hunger Games” trilogy most recently, he said.

Perhaps more than anyone else in the campaign, Mr. Jackson understands the likes and dislikes, the rhythms and moods, the quirks and habits of the famously reserved Mr. Romney. Mr. Jackson knows him so well that he recently began blogging about his days with Mr. Romney, an acknowledgment that a young, energetic and devoted aide might help voters connect to a candidate who has been called out of touch.

Mr. Jackson knows, for instance, that Mr. Romney’s preferred breakfast is McDonald’s pancakes (“We eat in the car most of the time”) and that for snacks and drinks, he likes Cherry Coke Zero, chocolate milk, water and Peanut M&Ms. Often on hand are the supplies for their beloved peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

He knows that Mr. Romney always wants a plan, so first thing each morning he lays out that day’s itinerary — everything from political events (“two town halls”) to appropriate attire (“business casual”).

“He always goes, ‘What’s up, boss?’ Or, ‘What’s up, doc?’ ” Mr. Jackson said, referring to Mr. Romney’s prompt for a schedule update. “He’s a very good listener, and then if he’s confused by something, he’ll start quizzing me.”

Mr. Jackson also knows that, more than almost anything, Mr. Romney hates being late. He views it as the ultimate politician’s affront, one of the few things that can rile him. Before the campaign started, if Mr. Jackson was running a few minutes behind in picking up Mr. Romney at his townhouse in Belmont, Mass., Mr. Romney’s bags would be waiting in a tidy pile outside the front door. “I knew that was his little nudge, his way of saying, ‘I walked out and you weren’t here; you were a little late,’ ” Mr. Jackson said.

The two once hopped out of a traffic-snarled taxi in Midtown Manhattan and sprinted — in the heat of summer, in jacket and tie, both carrying briefcases — seven blocks to a luncheon to arrive on time.

Mr. Jackson’s job is to anticipate the candidate’s every need, and his black briefcase is stocked with Sharpies, batteries, granola bars, collar stays, flag pins, hand sanitizer, Advil, Tide pens, chargers, note cards and half-eaten meals wrapped in napkins. He has offered his back as a hard surface on which Mr. Romney can sign posters and, at an event in Mason City, Iowa, Mr. Jackson dived to the floor to steady a rickety chair that his boss stood on to address a large crowd. Mr. Romney teased that Mr. Jackson only had to catch him if he fell — but a photo of Mr. Jackson crouched awkwardly, holding the chair, flooded the Web.

“After the infamous chair photo came out, he was calling me Mr. Chairman or Chairman Jackson,” Mr. Jackson said.

Jackson continues:

I talk about his underappreciated sense of humor, the fact he’s just a normal guy,” Mr. Jackson said. “I’m always, like, ‘Gov, let me take your laundry,’ but he’d rather wash his own shirt in the sink, using an iron to dry it.”

He added, eyes wide, “I did not know that was possible.”

Mr. Romney usually does laundry once a week — either by hand in the sink or in a hotel’s coin-operated washing machine — and refuses Mr. Jackson’s attempts to send it out. “He’s so cheap,” Mr. Jackson said. “It costs, like, $5 per shirt in the hotel laundry.”

This article is an enjoyable must-read; continue here. Hats off to Mr. Jackson for taking good care of The Gov!

UPDATE – VIDEO Life of the Body Man; check out the fantastic image @1:02!

The Boston Globe published an update today on what may be going through Santorum’s mind…

Santorum moves fuel predictions he will exit

Santorum has scheduled no public events over the holiday weekend and has made no major media buys, fueling speculation that he might quit. Polling in Pennsylvania that shows him slipping against front-runner Mitt Romney raises the prospect of an embarrassing home-state loss that could hurt his chances if he were to make a run for the nomination in 2016.

A Santorum campaign spokesman said the candidate had a busy slate of events scheduled for next week and promised that a list would be released soon.
[...]
Romney is campaigning hard in Pennsylvania, and when Election Day rolls around Santorum’s home-field advantage may have evaporated.

“He’s already lost Pennsylvania once, why not twice?’’ said Tom Parsley, 64, a construction contractor who also thinks Santorum should quit the race. Parsley twice voted for Santorum for the Senate, but could not support his third run. “The way he presented himself was just way too extreme.’’

Haven’t heard an update today on little Bella Santorum; continued prayers for her recovery…

There’s a growing consensus from Republican National Committee members:

(more…)

On Your Mark, Get Ready, Set…Go!

Mitt Romney man with a plan

Mitt Romney: the man with the character, skills, experience, endurance, and the team required to be our nominee.

Having organized, managed and executed a dynamically successful Primary Campaign strategy, Governor Romney is well poised for the General Election Cycle.

The Romney Campaign has overcome and endured a nearly insurmountable campaign season. Although not flawless, and in spite of continual MLM protestations, the Romney Campaign has been one of the best run Republican Primary Campaigns in modern history. To paraphrase Stuart Stevens, Senior Advisor to the Campaign, any credit to the eventual success of the campaign goes to the candidate, Governor Romney – they don’t get any better than Mitt Romney…and this from a well respected and seasoned veteran of political campaigns. Further, to each who stands, or has stood, with Mitt Romney, they are to a one unified in their admiration, attribution and respect, that he like none other is the real deal with all of the needed character traits, skillsets and experience to lead our nation at one of its most defining moments.

Consider the points;

1 – In a Primary campaign, Governor Romney has been continuously and singularly challenged by the Obama Media Machine (OMM – Main Stream Media), the Democratic National Committee, the Obama Campaign, and an abundance of candidates and/or promoted possible candidates (Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul), each of whom have at one point or another led national polls for the Republican nomination. Amidst it all, Mitt Romney has withstood the onslaught, and stands today as a respected and principled leader without equivocation.

2 – Governor Romney and his core team have built and managed a national campaign organization like none other. This is a campaign that can not only compete, but compete with depth in every contest across the nation and territories of the United States. Such is what is needed to endure what is likely to be the most aggressive and expensive general campaign in modern history.

3 – Governor Romney has built one of the broadest based and well-resourced fundraising campaigns in Republican Party history. With contributions in excess of $80 million thus far (limited by a $2,500 maximum), the Romney Campaign has no equal in the Party. Governor Romney has attracted a large base of donors less than $200 per person while also appealing to a large base of maximum donors. This proven ability to raise needed campaign funds for the Primary cycle has positioned the campaign for the demands of fundraising parity with the most prolific of fundraisers, Barack Obama.

4 – The Candidate – as stated by Stuart Stevens, there isn’t any better than Mitt Romney. A man whose life is a reflection of integrity, character, principled leadership and capacity, thus enabling his ability and offered availability to lead, even inspire our Nation in our defining moment! We are suffering from a void of experienced and principled leadership – Mitt Romney fills the void as few can.

Thank you Mitt and Ann Romney!

And so, it begins – the comparative of Romney and Obama. Hugh Hewitt clearly defines the contest here. That said, to make an effective comparative we need to know more of Barack Obama. A dear friend and highly regarded Hollywood Producer, Jerry Molen is introduced by Breitbart in a recent post. Jerry is producing a film titled “2016″ based upon the book by Dinesh D’Souza, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”, to further inform the American electorate (see below). The film is slated for release in the midst of the Presidential campaign, the summer of 2012. Future posts will be more deliberative in their comparatives of Barack Obama and his failed policies.

What Happened in Michigan? Here’s a Little Help for the Media

Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, the UAW, President Obama’s Super PAC, Gingrich’s Super PAC, Santorum’s Super PAC, Michael Moore, Fox News, Red State, and the dirty tactics of Santorum’s own campaign couldn’t beat Mitt in Michigan where polls show the fact that Mitt was born here didn’t factor very largely in the decision of voters.

I don’t know if I can remember a candidate surviving and continuing to win when faced with such adversity. Michigan’s results are truly amazing. Despite an onslaught of outrageous attacks from both sides and the media giving voters virtually no where to turn to for the truth, that fact that Mitt still won must strike fear in the heart of the Obama campaign. Even with Catholics across Michigan getting inundated with robocalls calling Mitt a baby-killer, Mitt won the majority of Catholic votes. Mitt ended up winning among republicans by over 10%, he and drastically increased his vote totals from 2008 despite 3 years of sustained attacks by the local and national press claiming that Mitt wanted Michigan and Detroit to fail and lose all of our auto sector jobs. President Obama fears that Mitt could carry Michigan in the general which would make his path to re-election basically impossible. President Obama’s campaign and Super PAC had laid the groundwork to defeat Mitt Romney in Michigan for years, and they failed.

Mitt Romney emerges from this primary as the only acceptable candidate. Newt Gingrich and his Super PAC have disqualified themselves with their blatant dishonest on Bain Capital and with the robocalls they ran against Mitt about the 2nd Ammendment. Rick Santorum has disqualified himself by running robocalls aimed at democrats admitting he is a weaker general election candidate. That is not an appeal to democrats that will result in extra votes in November. It is an admission that Sen. Santorum has no business in the race if even he admits he doesn’t stand much of a chance against President Obama in November. He can argue that he was playing off media stereotypes, but he could’ve let the UAW, Michael Moore, the democrat lawyers, and several other democratic leaders in Michigan make that argument. I cannot recall any instance of an actual Presidential campaign doing what Sen. Santorum’s actual campaign did. Republican voters across the country will not forget and will not forgive Sen. Santorum in time for him to regain momentum. Ron Paul, the only other candidate with an organized and professional campaign, is satisfied with the opportunity to spread his ideals, and has also indicated that Mitt Romney would make a fine and acceptable President.

This race should be over! Mitt continues to build a huge delegate lead while Sen. Santorum’s campaign spent every last penny in Michigan. However, the dishonest media continues to propagate the narrative of Mitt being “wounded”, a “weak-frontrunner”, “stumbling”, or “unable to excite the base”. The media has worked tirelessly to elongate this process in order to increase ratings and/or to stop Mitt Romney from getting the nomination. Their claims don’t hold any water. It must be clear to any honest clear-thinking individual that Mitt is the only candidate that can beat President Obama. Rick Santorum and the actions of the democrats all admit it. It’s time we all rally to Romney.

It’s Primary Election Night in AZ & MI… Go ROMNEY!


UPDATE – Romney wins Arizona and Michigan!


Election night, Feb 28, 2012 – From Mitt Romney and Team: “Thank you to all our #Mitt2012 friends.” (TwitPic / Zac Moffat)

Mitt Romney supporters are anxiously awaiting the results of today’s primary elections in Arizona and Michigan. We’re optimistic about a win in The Grand Canyon State. Polling in The Great Lakes State between Governor Romney and Rick Santorum is razor thin. From The Washington Post:

Of the two, Michigan is by far the more competitive race – the candidates have been spending the bulk of their time there in recent days, and both Romney and Santorum hold their primary-night parties there tonight.
[...]
Newt Gingrich , who all but bypassed Michigan, is spending the day in his home state of Georgia, where he holds three campaign events, two news conferences and a primary night rally.

And Rep. Ron Paul , who campaigned only lightly in Michigan, is spending his primary night in Springfield, Va.

We hope Michiganders vote for the non-Democrat backed Mitt Romney.

Poll closing times:
Michigan – 8:00 pm ET
Arizona – 9:00 pm ET

CNN will air television coverage at 6:00 pm ET and is airing a livefeed here. Their twitter hashtag is #cnnelections. Don’t forget to include #mitt2012 and #UnravelTheSweater.

FOX News is also airing television coverage at 6:00 pm ET. Check back for additional livefeeds.

[Chat has moved back to the side bar ---->]

Please register a name to chat. It’s very easy – no email required. Enter a name and then press the ‘profile’ button to register it.

We’re anticipating a long night ahead of us, so get the popcorn ready! As events get underway, we invite Romney supporters to join us on our chat forum.

VICTORY FOR MITT!



Update: Mitt won among republicans by more than 10%, and he received a lot more votes than in 2008.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Romney vs. Obama: New Poll Shows Romney is the Only Republican Who Can Beat Obama in Nevada

With Mitt on the ticket, Nevada goes red!

There has been a lot of poll results coming out this week showing Mitt Romney as not only the GOP front runner, but also the only candidate who stands in the way of Obama’s chances at a second term in the White House.

A new poll came out today from Public Policy Polling showing Mitt Romney as the only person who would be a real challenge to President Obama in Nevada. No other tentative Republican candidate for the 2012 election would be a competitive against Obama in the fight to secure Nevada’s 6 electoral votes (1 extra thanks to the 2010 census):

Barack Obama would easily take Nevada if he had to stand for reelection today…unless the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney. Obama has early double digit advantages against Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin in the state but has just a single point edge over Romney.

Nevada is one of the few swing states we’ve polled in the last couple months where more voters approve (50%) than disapprove (46%) of Obama. Like everywhere else in the country Democrats are largely happy with him and Republicans are most unhappy- what sets apart his numbers in Nevada is his popularity with independents, 55% of whom approve of him with 41% disapproving.

Independents in the state may like Obama but they like Romney even more, giving him a 58/28 favorability rating. That’s quite a contrast to how they feel about other the leading Republican contenders in the state. Huckabee’s favorability with them is 38/50, Palin’s is 28/61, and Gingrich actually occupies the basement in this state at 26/65.

emphasis mine

Nevada isn’t the only state where Mitt Romney is the only real threat to Obama’s chances of winning that state. Obama has the same problem in Michigan where the former Massachusetts governor is the only person who poses a significant hurdle in capturing that state. That point is made clear in PPP’s reporting:

Of the battleground states where we’ve polled 2012 so far, Nevada has the biggest disparity in the GOP’s chances of winning depending on who their nominee is. The only other state where there was greater than a 5 point difference between how one Republican did and the rest of them was Michigan, where Romney came to within 4 points of Obama with Huckabee the next closest at 12 points.

Mitt Means Business!

Even though Obama and Mitt Romney are closely tied in Nevada, the advantage goes to Mitt Romney. He won Nevada during the 2008 Presidential primaries (some have attributed his victory to the high volume of Mormon [LDS] voters). He made a whopping five stops to the Vegas area on his No Apology book tour back in March. He also gave a speech to the 2,500 members of the International Franchise Association in Las Vegas. Furthermore, Mitt endorsed a handful of Republican candidates in Nevada and came out to stump for them during the 2010 midterm elections. As a result, Mitt Romney has some serious name recognition in Nevada –enough to help him secure the vital swing state.

Given that Governor Romney can put states like Nevada and Michigan into play for 2012 while other potential Republican candidates would lose by double digit margins, he really becomes an attractive candidate for Americans looking to put Obama in the unemployment line in 2012 — perhaps in Nevada, where the state has an unemployment rate of 14.3%, the highest unemployment rate in the United States.

The economy will be the most important issue of 2012, Americans will want a candiate who can stimulate the economy (not the government) and get Americans back to work again. The best man to do that is Mitt Romney; Mitt means business!

~ Jared A.

Mitt Adds Muscle to Michigan: Stumps With Snyder, Endorses Eleven



In follow-up of yesterday’s post from Jayde, there is more big news out of Michigan today. Below is a short peek at Romney and gubernatorial hopeful, Rick Snyder, touring the Tapemaster Tool factory in Troy, MI. No doubt, these two Michigan natives are working hard to make the ‘Great Lakes State’ great again.

The video has been removed, and can be found here

Also, Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC announced the endorsement of the following 11 Michigan candidates and a total of $28,400 in contributions to their campaigns:

Congressman Dave Camp: Congressman Dave Camp currently represents the 4th Congressional District of Michigan and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.davecampforcongress.com.

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter: CongressmanThaddeus McCotter currently represents the 11th Congressional District of Michigan and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.mccotterrocks.com.

Congresswoman Candice Miller: Congresswoman Candice Miller currently represents the 10th Congressional District of Michigan and is running for reelection. For more information about her and her campaign, visit www.candice-miller.com.

Congressman Mike Rogers: Congressman Mike Rogers currently represents the 8th Congressional District of Michigan and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.rogers4congress.com.

Congressman Fred Upton: Congressman Fred Upton currently represents the 6th Congressional District of Michigan and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.uptonforallofus.com.

State Representative Justin Amash: Justin Amash currently serves as a state representative and is now running to represent the 3rd Congressional District of Michigan. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.amashforcongress.com.

Dan Benishek: Dan Benishek, a career surgeon, is now running to represent the 1st Congressional District of Michigan. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.danbenishekforcongress.com.

Bill Huizenga: Bill Huizenga, a small business owner and former state representative, is now running to represent the 2nd Congressional District of Michigan. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.huizengaforcongress.com.

Rocky Raczkowski: Rocky Raczkowski, a former state representative and businessman, is now running to represent the 9th Congressional District of Michigan. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.rockyworksforus.com.

Tim Walberg: Tim Walberg previously represented the 7th Congressional District of Michigan and is running to reclaim his seat. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.walbergforcongress.com.

Bill Schuette: Bill Schuette has served the people of Michigan as a Congressman, Director of Agriculture, state senator, and appellate judge, and is now running to become Michigan’s next Attorney General. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.billschuette.com.

Thanks, Mitt, for supporting conservative candidates across the country! We look forward to following you on the campaign trail leading into the November midterms.

~Luke

Primary Election Results Chat: Karen Handel vs. Nathan Deal in Georgia; Plus Connecticut, Minnesota and Colorado

It’s primary election night, and that means the chat room is up! The big race many will be watching is the runoff between Karen Handel (Romney and Palin endorsed) versus Nathan Deal (Huckabee and Gingrich endorsed). We’ll post updates in the chat throughout the evening. ENJOY!

The chatbox has been moved back to the sidebar. Thanks to all who participated last night. We will most likely do it again on August 24th for the primary elections in FL, AZ, AK, and VT.

Selected results from last night:
Georgia Governor Runoff (GOP): Nathan Deal 50.2% – Karen Handel 49.8%
Colorado Senate (GOP): Ken Buck 51.6% – Jane Norton 48.4%
Colorado Governor (GOP): Dan Maes 50.7% – Scott McInnis 49.3%
Connecticut Governor (GOP): Tom Foley 42.3% – Michael Fedele 39.0% – Oz Griebel 18.6%

For full results click here.

We NEED Pete Hoekstra as Michigan’s Next Governor! Vote August 3rd

Pete Hoekstra’s Response to ‘Obama’s Victory Lap for Auto Bailout?’

Two weeks ago, President Obama came into my home district [and] he trash-talked me because I’m the leading candidate for governor. And today he’s coming in because the primary is on Tuesday and [Democratic Rep.] Carolyn Kilpatrick is in the race of her political life, and he’s going to use this to promote her candidacy. He says he’s doing these trips for this or that, but what he’s really doing is either try to damage one campaign or help another campaign. Why else would a president go into the same state two times in two weeks? It makes no sense.

[And] the president is picking winners and losers [on electric vehicles]. There are all kinds of competing technologies out there to increase fuel efficiency and improve performance … Yes, let’s have the government create an environment for competitive solutions to work their way through the marketplace, but the government is getting overly involved in managing our economy.

I’m sure the president will not talk about one of the most devastating things that happened when the government took over the auto industry: how they made the disastrous decision to close all these auto dealerships in an unfair way. There were a lot of people and a lot of families that were hurt when he did that.

He won’t talk about the negative things, he’ll just try to talk about the positive, but there were dramatic negatives that happened when this president made some of the decisions that he made regarding the auto industry.

I’m glad we’re getting new jobs in Michigan with that, but what people in Michigan are saying is, “Let’s have less government interference in our businesses. Let us compete in the market dynamics and we’ll be just fine.”

State of the race: In the last days of this primary campaign, the field has been narrowed down to three candidates who all have a chance to win on Tuesday. Pete Hoekstra, Mike Cox, and Rick Snyder are all in a position to win this race. As most of you know, Michigan has had Democrat Jennifer Granholm running our state over the last 8 years, and many people in the usually blue Michigan are ready to vote for a Republican in November. In the polling that has been done, a generic republican candidate beats a democratic candidate by huge margins. However, Mike Cox’s campaign has been boosted by Mike Huckabee’s endorsement which has helped him get through the scandal that has cast a shadow over his entire campaign from the start. Democrats across the whole state want Mike Cox to win because his baggage will make him the easiest to beat in November. Rick Snyder is a rich outsider who didn’t attend most of the debates and bankrolled the majority of his campaign. He is an unknown who only has a chance to win this race because of the enormous amount of money he has spent on the campaign. He is suspected of being socially liberal and economically conservative, but his lack of legislative experience makes it hard to know for sure.

Pete is the candidate we want to win for sure and we don’t have any more time left to wait and hope he wins. We need to help him NOW! As you can see here, Mitt has been working hard to help Pete and should Pete win, Michigan will be forever grateful. Michigan will finally have a conservative governor!

How can you help?
1. Support Pete Hoekstra on Facebook and invite your friends to do the same.

2. Spread this post to every Mitt supporter you know using every social network you have an account with.

3. Subscribe to Pete’s YouTube channel and comment on his newest videos. Plus, you can look at earlier videos of the enormous amount of great endorsements Pete has gotten for this campaign.

4. The campaign also has some great ways to help whether you live in Michigan or not.

Nikki Haley, With Romney & Palin Support, Takes Lead in SC's Race for Governor

Romney & Haley

After an entire year of being the underdog in South Carolina’s gubernatorial race, Nikki Haley has suddenly captured the lead!

She may owe this abrupt jump in polls to some really big endorsements, including initial nods from Mitt Romney, Jenny Sanford, and Erick Erickson of RedState – followed by the more recent endorsement of the rogue herself, Sarah Palin.

More from the Washington Post:

State legislator Nikki Haley seizes the lead in the four-way GOP primary for governor of South Carolina. An automated Rasmussen poll of 912 Republicans has Haley surging from 12 to 30 percent support in a month, leapfrogging the state’s attorney general, lieutenant governor and a congressman, all with more money and institutional support. One reason, as I posted last week — Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R-S.C.) political PAC reactivated recently and spent $400,000 on sunny Haley TV ads.

This is only one Rasmussen poll, and unless a candidate scores 50 percent of the vote he or she goes to a run-off, but what would a Haley win mean? It would be a massive victory for the conservative grass roots, especially RedState, which have promoted her endlessly. And it would be a boon for Mitt Romney, who won Haley’s endorsement in 2008, endorsed her this year, and would obviously be expected to win it in 2012.

Just yesterday, Romney’s PAC sent out this reminder to all Facebook Fans and Twitter followers:

With the South Carolina gubernatorial primary election less than three weeks away, a new Rasmussen poll now shows Nikki Haley leading her closest opponent by 11 points. Nikki Haley represents a new generation of conservative leadership for South Carolina. Please consider supporting her campaign.”

Check out her new TV ad:

Nikki Haley’s Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/NikkiHaleyforGovernor
Nikki Haley’s Twitterhttp://twitter.com/nikkihaley

~Luke G.

Romney Endorses Branstad in Iowa, 2012 Huckabee Rivalry Underway

Branstad vs. Vander Plaats in Iowa GOP Primary

Terry Branstad (left) and Bob Vander Plaats (right) face off in the Iowa Gubernatorial Republican Primary on June 8th

The spirit of rivalry is thick in the air as Mitt Romney’s PAC announced today that Romney has endorsed Terry Branstad in Iowa’s republican primary race for the Governorship. In addition to the endorsement the PAC wrote out a check for the maximum possible donation the PAC can give, $10,000, which is incidentally among the highest contributions given by the PAC this year.

The rivalry with this endorsement is evident when you consider the fact that Branstad’s main opponent, Bob Vander Plaats, has been heavily endorsed by Mike Huckabee AND his trusty sidekick Chuck Norris. According to The Iowa Independent other similarities with Huckabee and Vander Plaats abound:

The comparisons between this year’s Republican gubernatorial primary, with Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats and former Gov. Terry Branstad as the frontrunners, and the 2008 Iowa Republican Caucuses, where former governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney squared off, are many. The biggest similarity, ultimately, is that the race represents a fork in the road for the Republican Party of Iowa, observers say, with voters facing stark differences in choosing the de facto leader of their party.

“The 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary runs parallel to the Romney/Huckabee match-up insomuch as the internal struggle for control of the party remains,” said Graham Gillette, who runs a public affairs/communications firm and occasionally blogs for The Des Moines Register. “The players are different. The campaign strategies being employed are not like 2008. But, ideology is driving the race as it did the 2008 Caucuses.”

Vander Plaats’ campaign is being run by Eric Woolson, who helped steer Huckabee to a caucus victory in 2008. In fact, Vander Plaats served as Huckabee’s state chair, and the former Arkansas governor has endorsed and repeatedly campaigned on Vander Plaats’ behalf.

Branstad remained neutral during the caucuses, but his staff is made up of numerous former Romney aides, including his spokesman, Tim Albrecht, his main fundraiser, Nicole Schlinger, and the person who put together the “Draft Branstad PAC,” Sandy Greiner, among others. But Doug Gross, Branstad’s former chief of staff and longtime adviser, represents Branstad’s closest ties to Romney. In fact, the two of them sat down with the former Massachusetts governor when he visited Iowa [in the end of March].

So Romney is going in big with 2012 implications on the line. Huckabee already put all of his chips into this one, nearly a year ago. With Huckabee’s busy TV and radio schedule, plus his daughter’s upcoming wedding (May 25th, Virgin Islands), Huckabee won’t be able to make it the state to campaign for Vander Plaats so his proxy, Chuck “Texas Ranger” Norris, is filling in for him. The legendary Mr. Norris will be in Iowa on June 4th and 5th.

The Iowa 2010 primary elections are set for June 8th – mark your calendars. The way I see it Romney has nothing to lose on this one and much to gain, as he would be the underdog going into Iowa should Huckabee run. I couldn’t find any head to head polling of Branstad and Vander Plaats, but Rasmussen did do a hypothetical match-up of both candidates against incumbent Democrat Chet Culver in a general election:

branstad-vander-plaats-poll

Apr. 29th Poll

Romney’s statement of endorsement for Terry Branstad:

Terry Branstad served Iowa well in the 1980s and 1990s, compiling an enviable record as a pro-growth fiscal conservative who will make jobs his first priority. Iowa is ready for a comeback, and Terry’s proven leadership is just what Iowa needs to get its economy back on track. I am proud to endorse his candidacy to lead Iowa to a more prosperous future.

~Nate Gunderson

Update by Luke:

Sarah Palin Joins Mitt Romney in Backing Terry Branstad for Governor of Iowa

Read her Facebook note here (6/3/10)