Mitt Romney’s on the campaign trail in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas the next three days, helping fellow Republicans running for office this year. For the 2012 GOP nominee, this week’s travel is the latest example of Romney’s political resurrection from presidential election loser to respected party rainmaker and elder statesman.
“Governor Romney is a tremendous leader for the Republican Party. His ability to skewer President Obama and his administration’s flawed and failed policies are unparalleled, as time and again he has been proven correct on a host of 2012 campaign issues,” said veteran New Hampshire GOP consultant Jim Merrill, who was a top adviser to Romney in the Granite State in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
“As a seasoned campaigner, proven fundraiser and beloved elder statesman, its no surprise that Governor Romney is in such demand on the campaign trail. The former Massachusetts governor is the main attraction Tuesday in West Virginia at a fundraiser in Charleston and a rally later in the day in Beckley for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the GOP Senate nominee in the state. The events will also benefit Republican congressional candidates Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins.
Capito, who’s served seven terms in Congress, is considered the favorite in the race against West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, the Democratic nominee. The winner in November’s midterm elections will succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. The GOP sees the seat as a strong pick up opportunity.
Capito’s campaign has tried to link Tennant to the White House and to congressional Democratic leaders like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and they see Romney as an effective messenger in a state where he trounced the President in the 2012 election.
“I haven’t seen a single poll that shows Obama above 30% job approval in West Virginia. What we saw in 2012, which was Mitt winning with 62% of the vote has just gotten worse for Obama since then. It’s clear that Obama is just not a popular guy in the state and Mitt is.
Romney ends Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he’ll be the main attraction at a fundraiser for state House Speaker Thom Tillis. He’s the Republican Senate nominee who’s challenging first term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. It’s another race where the GOP hopes to flip a Democratic held Senate seat.
On Wednesday and Thursday Romney is in Arkansas, lending a helping hand to Asa Hutchinson, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, and Rep. Tom Cotton, the GOP’s Senate nominee. Both contests are seen as very competitive.
The fact that Mitt Romney is in such high demand, and red state Senate Democrats are avoiding President Obama like the plague, is extremely telling.
Next month Romney Teams Up with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to help raise money for the Garden State’s GOP. And he’s back on the campaign trail in late September, traveling to Colorado and Virginia to help Republican candidates. Romney advisers say their boss will spend parts of October helping fellow Republicans.
Romney stayed far from the political spotlight following his bruising defeat to Obama. But starting in the summer of 2013, he began to get more involved in shaping the future of his party and guiding the national conversation. Romney also endorsed some two dozen candidates in the GOP primaries, with those he backed coming out on top in their contests.
With the two living former Republican presidents, George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, both staying far from the political conversation, Romney started to fill the void.
Mitt Romney is the most prominent and engaged elder statesman the GOP has on the national stage right now. While Romney is enjoying a renaissance, the President, thanks to a host of crises both domestic and international, is struggling with an approval rating in the low to mid 40’s.
A recent CNN/ORC International poll indicated that if the 2012 election were held today, Romney would top Obama 53%-44% in the popular vote. But the same survey suggested that Romney would lose to Hillary Clinton 55%-42% in a hypothetical 2016 matchup. Romney, who also ran for the 2008 GOP nomination, has repeatedly ruled out a third bid for the White House.