Washington Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna is navigating the GOP presidential race carefully, opting against a public endorsement ahead of the state's Saturday caucuses. But that's not stopping him from attending a fundraiser for Mitt Romney on Thursday.
The Everett Herald:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna will attend a Thursday night fund raiser for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But the appearance should not be viewed as an endorsement.
That's the word from McKenna's campaign spokesman Charles McCray III.
Romney supporters invited the attorney general to the event at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue and he accepted the invitation, McCray explained Wednesday.
"He looks forward to meeting with them there to discuss his campaign's progress and how we can keep the momentum going," McCray wrote in an email, adding McKenna does not have a speaking role.
McKenna's appearance is worth noting because he's made a point of not endorsing anyone before the caucuses and not wanting to appear to be taking sides in the contested primary.
He has skipped campaign events put on by Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich during their respective visits to Washington in February.
"We're a centrist state, so a candidate who is more centrist will play the best up there," McKenna said in an interview with Hotline On Call on Monday, before reiterating that he's not taking a position in support of one candidate over another. When asked specifically about Romney, McKenna said "he would probably be the most competitive in our state."
The next couple of days present an interesting balancing act for McKenna in the lead up to Washington state's Republican caucuses: How to keep enough distance from the GOP race so as not to look too partisan, while at the same time not appearing to give his party's likely presidential nominee the cold shoulder, either.