In his Triumph Turf, Chairmen Cheer Mitt’s Move
Republican chairmen in the three primary states where Mitt Romney emerged triumphant last month hailed the former presidential hopeful’s decision yesterday to release the delegates he won and endorse John McCain. Romney, who also won six other state contests in which delegates were decided by caucus or convention, effectively ended his presidential bid with his blessings of McCain.
“I think it’s the right thing to do to help bring the party together and start focusing our efforts on the Democrats,” said Saul Anuzis, state party chairman of Michigan (where Romney was born and won his first primary contest). “That will carry a lot of weight here in Michigan with his strong grassroots organization.”
Peter Torkildsen, state chairman of Massachusetts (where Romney served as governor from 2002-06), agreed. “I think this is a big boost for the Republican ticket,” Torkildsen, a former congressman, told me. “It’s a very strong signal that he realizes McCain will be the nominee and by him endorsing him today, that helps us bring all sides together in Massachusetts. This makes my job as state chairman easier now — I can go out to folks now who had backed Gov. Romney’s and ask them to come on board.
“Massachusetts does not normally vote for the Republican in presidential races. But the stronger showing we have from the Republican nominee helps the rest of the ticket. As you may now, we will be fielding a strong candidate against John Kerry for the Senate and having a united party will help us defeat Kerry, who is out of touch with voters here.”
According to Utah State Chairman Stan Lockhart, “Gov. Romney received about 90% of the vote here, so Utah is a Mitt Romney state through and through. Until we receive a request from him to do something else, we will stay committed to him.”
When I told him that Romney had officially released his delegates to do as they chose at the Republican National Convention, Lockhart still insisted he wanted to be in touch with the onetime winter Olympics head to ask for guidance on what to do. Would he like Romney to be McCain’s vice presidential running mate? “I would like Mitt Romney to have a role in public service and what role that would be would be up to him.”