Despite polls showing a deadlocked race with Rick Santorum in Ohio on Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney is heading south to Georgia and Tennessee today—two states his campaign does not necessarily think he can win.
“I don’t know if we have any realistic expectation of beating Newt Gingrich in his own state,” said Romney senior advisor Eric Ferhnstrom, on a flight to Georgia, where Gingrich maintains a double-digit lead in the latest AJC poll.
“I don’t know if we can win Georgia or Tennessee, but I know we can take delegates out of there,” Fehrnstom said. “This is a delegate contest now, and, more important than winning this state or that state is achieving the requisite number of delegates you need to obtain the nomination, that’s what our focus is.”
Romney has seldom visited either state over the course of his campaign. “There’s 10 states that go on Tuesday, he can’t put a footprint in each of them,” Fehrnstom said. “But we’re going to try to visit as many as we can.”
Stops on Sunday include a pancake brunch in Snellville, Georgia, and a rally in Knoxville, Tennessee. Romney’s day started in Ohio and the campaign began its morning by racking up the endorsement of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. According to the campaign, Cantor called Romney on Wednesday to tell him of his support.
"I’ve got to believe in the back of his mind he’s also thinking about maintaining a Republican majority in the house," Fehrnstrom said, "and elected Republicans are looking for someone who has coattails, not concrete shoes."