Politics

Romney 2016 Just Picked Up an Early Endorsement

The as-yet unannounced campaign can count on at least one supporter in Congress.

National Journal
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Rebecca Nelson
Jan. 14, 2015, 9:08 a.m.

Just days after an­noun­cing that he’s ser­i­ously con­sid­er­ing a third pres­id­en­tial run, Mitt Rom­ney has earned him­self an early en­dorse­ment: the coveted praise of Rep. Mike Kelly.

On News­Max TV on Tues­day, the Pennsylvania Re­pub­lic­an sang Rom­ney’s praises when asked by host Ed Ber­liner what he made of the former Mas­sachu­setts gov­ernor’s an­nounce­ment to donors that he’s think­ing about run­ning.

“Gov. Rom­ney is the only per­son that has the cre­den­tials. He’s done it in the past, he can do it again,” Kelly said. “Why three to four mil­lion Re­pub­lic­ans stayed home and didn’t vote from him I will nev­er un­der­stand.”

Kelly con­tin­ued pil­ing on the com­pli­ments, un­til Oscar-like mu­sic signaled the end of the seg­ment and Ber­liner had to cut him off.

“Gov­ernor Rom­ney is the most ef­fi­cient and ef­fect­ive per­son we can put in that lead­er­ship po­s­i­tion right now, some­body who we can look to,” Kelly said. “He’s a man of faith, he’s a man of suc­cess, and he’s a man who un­der­stands this coun­try and our role in it. He’s the guy who called Rus­sia out when every­one else turned and laughed. He was ab­so­lutely right. He un­der­stands the eco­nomy.”

This en­dorse­ment, al­beit small-time, is surely wel­come news for those in Rom­ney­land. Oth­er politi­cians have either stuck to back­han­ded com­pli­ments cast­ing Rom­ney as a washed-up in­ter­loper, and many of his 2012 sup­port­ers in Con­gress aren’t rush­ing to his side this time around. Sen. James Risch of Idaho, an early Rom­ney back­er in 2008 and 2012, told Na­tion­al Journ­al earli­er this week that he wouldn’t make an en­dorse­ment any time soon.

“Mitt is a great guy. He served his coun­try well and would be a great pres­id­ent, but let’s wait and see how this shakes out,” Risch said. “Every race is dif­fer­ent, the dy­nam­ics are dif­fer­ent, the land­scape is dif­fer­ent, so you nev­er know.”

Aside from Kelly, one oth­er mem­ber of Con­gress, Sen. Or­rin Hatch of Utah, has said “noth­ing would make him hap­pi­er” than Rom­ney—a close friend—run­ning again, but Hatch did not ex­pli­citly say he’d en­dorse him.

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