Look Who’s Back: Where Mitt Romney Is Lending Campaign Help in 2014

The former presidential candidate is appearing in ads, writing endorsement letters, and giving money in a few select races.

Mitt Romney
National Journal
Andrea Drusch
See more stories about...
Andrea Drusch
April 18, 2014, 11:26 a.m.

After a long spell out­side the polit­ic­al spot­light, Mitt Rom­ney is quietly be­gin­ning to lend a hand to a se­lect few Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates in midterm races. There’s no doubt that a nod from former top name on the GOP tick­et has value, es­pe­cially fin­an­cially. But how do the party, can­did­ates, and Rom­ney him­self know when and where the failed pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate should get in­volved?

For the can­did­ates who ul­ti­mately get his help, the res­ults are pub­lic re­cord: In the past month, Rom­ney has twice lent his name to can­did­ates run­ning in those two all-im­port­ant primary states where he spent so much time in 2011, Iowa and New Hamp­shire. Fed­er­al cam­paign fin­ance re­cords show that his former cam­paign fund, Rom­ney for Pres­id­ent, has cut checks for $2,000 each to five can­did­ates in com­pet­it­ive races.

As GOP can­did­ates gear up for an­oth­er year of primary battles, his sup­port could be a valu­able en­dorse­ment for primary can­did­ates in need of con­ser­vat­ive bona fides or a gen­er­al-elec­tion boost in a state Rom­ney cap­tured in 2012. In oth­er cases, it looks like the former gov­ernor is help­ing along someone who helped him in his own bid for of­fice.

On Tues­day, Rom­ney starred in a U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce ad for Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, tout­ing a fa­mil­i­ar mes­sage of “out-of-con­trol” spend­ing in D.C. Speak­ing from a room that looks vaguely like the Oval Of­fice, Rom­ney en­dorses Simpson as the true “con­ser­vat­ive choice” to com­bat “Wash­ing­ton’s waste­ful spend­ing.”

Rom­ney took Idaho with more than 64 per­cent of the vote in 2012, and his face on TV could be a boon to Simpson, es­pe­cially with Mor­mon primary voters, ahead of a for­mid­able chal­lenge from Club for Growth-backed at­tor­ney Bry­an Smith.

On Wed­nes­day, Rom­ney sent an email to pro­spect­ive donors on be­half of once-and-pos­sibly-fu­ture Sen. Scott Brown of Mas­sachu­setts, “a proven Re­pub­lic­an lead­er who shares our val­ues,” as Rom­ney put it.

Last month Rom­ney weighed in on the crowded Iowa primary, tap­ping state Sen. Joni Ernst as Re­pub­lic­ans’ best shot to de­feat Demo­crat­ic Rep. Bruce Bra­ley in a race where Re­pub­lic­ans have long been con­cerned about the pro­spect of end­ing up with a weak nom­in­ee.

Rom­ney has made two en­dorse­ments in Nevada, a state Obama took in 2012 but also one where Mor­mon polit­ic­al in­flu­ence is strong. Rom­ney vis­ited the state in March to raise money for Rep. Joe Heck at a private home, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted in a look at the de­lib­er­a­tions be­hind Rom­ney’s re­cent polit­ic­al ree­m­er­gence. That ap­pear­ance led to his re­cent help for lieu­ten­ant-gov­ernor can­did­ate (and fel­low Mor­mon) Mark Hutchis­on, who sought Rom­ney’s help at the Heck fun­draiser, The Post re­ports.

Mean­while, Rom­ney’s former cam­paign fund has doled out cash in sev­er­al races, primar­ily to can­did­ates with strong ties to the former can­did­ate. The cam­paign gave to Vir­gin­ia state le­gis­lat­or Bar­bara Com­stock, who worked on Rom­ney’s 2008 cam­paign and is run­ning for re­tir­ing Rep. Frank Wolf’s open seat in North­ern Vir­gin­ia. Former Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee Chair­man Ed Gillespie’s Vir­gin­ia Sen­ate cam­paign also got a dona­tion.

In up­state New York, Rom­ney’s com­mit­tee cut a check to former George W. Bush and Paul Ry­an aide Elise Stefanik in the open race to re­place Demo­crat­ic Rep. Bill Owens. It also gave to former Cali­for­nia state Sen. Tony Strick­land, a two-time state Rom­ney cam­paign chair­man mak­ing his second bid for the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives.

The for­mula for a Rom­ney en­dorse­ment isn’t sol­id sci­ence yet — he has, ac­cord­ing to The Post‘s re­port­ing, turned down en­treat­ies from oth­er con­nec­ted cam­paign­ers, like his former Illinois cam­paign chair­man Dan Ruther­ford, who made an un­suc­cess­ful run for gov­ernor there. But the let­ters, the money, the travel, and the on-cam­era en­dorse­ment make it clear he’s will­ing to use some of his free time to pitch in where he can — and the num­ber of can­did­ates get­ting Rom­ney’s help can only grow.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Maher Weighs in on Bernie, Trump and Palin
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.

Source:
×