For Mitt Romney, is it all about New Hampshire?
May 27th, 2011
10:31 AM ET
3 years ago

For Mitt Romney, is it all about New Hampshire?

(CNN) – In Mitt Romney's case, it appears to be all about "location, location, location."

Aides to the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate confirmed that Romney will formally declare his candidacy for White House next Thursday and he'll make his announcement in New Hampshire. The news appears to tell us a lot about Romney's strategy for his second bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

This will be the second time this spring Romney is using New Hampshire as a backdrop to make news. On April 11, Romney announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee with a video he taped that day at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The Granite State holds the first primary in the presidential primary and caucus calendar and is considered a must win contest for Romney.

"Republicans in the Granite State have been closely watching Gov. Romney for 10 years since he was elected in Massachusetts in 2002. He needs to win in a state where voters know him best," says Rich Galen, a Republican strategist who advised Fred Thompson during his 2008 GOP presidential bid, and who is the author of Mullings.com, an on-line column.

Romney is well known in New Hampshire. As Galen notes, Romney was governor of neighboring Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, is seen often on TV in New Hampshire (much of the more populated southern part of the state is in the Boston media market), he has a vacation home in the state's 'lakes region' and he spent lots of time in the state in 2007 and 2008 in his first bid for the White House and last year as well, when he lent a helping hand to New Hampshire Republicans in the midterm election campaign.

The strong name recognition and his past efforts in the state are most likely one reason why Romney's far ahead of the rest of the field in a CNN/WMUR poll. The survey, conducted by the University of New Hampshire and released Monday, indicates that 33 percent of probable GOP primary voters in New Hampshire back Romney, with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas a distant second at nine percent.

"The shifting nature of the Republican field and a perception that the 'perfect candidate' candidate has not appeared, has led many New Hampshire Republicans to support the best known candidate, Mitt Romney," says Andrew Smith, Director of the UNH Survey Center. "Romney has been the clear favorite among New Hampshire Republicans for more than two years and no other candidate has persuaded voters to move away from Romney."

The poll also indicates that a desire by New Hampshire Republicans to pick someone who can beat President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election may be behind his poll numbers.

"Republicans are looking for someone who can take on President Obama, and right now, Romney is seen as the only Republican who can do that," adds Smith.

Romney on Friday makes his first visit to Iowa this cycle, with three stops across the state that kicks off the presidential primary and caucus calendar. And last weekend Romney made his first stop in South Carolina, the first southern state to vote in the road for the White House.

In his 2008 bid, Romney tried to be a player in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the strategy didn't succeed. He lost in Iowa to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and to Sen. John McCain, the eventual nominee, in New Hampshire. This time around it seems Romney will be concentrating his firepower in the Granite State.

"New Hampshire will decide who is the anti-Sarah Palin, I.E., the real Republican nominee. Whoever wins New Hampshire and the money and momentum that comes with it, has the nomination in his hands, say Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor.

Castellanos was a top media adviser to the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign and to Romney's 2008 bid for the GOP presidential nomination, but has not taken sides in this cycle.

Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, is increasingly sending signals that she might be interested in launching a bid for the White House.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. MikeB

    The only way this guy is going to get into the White House is if he takes the guided tour.

    May 27, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Howard

    His official campaign logo will be a pair of Flip Flops!!!!

    May 27, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. JohnH

    His economic know-how is probably better than anything we have currently or anyone else under contention for the office.

    May 27, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. kakaraka

    Unfortunately, christians will not vote for a morron candidate that Romey is. No way.

    May 27, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Guiliani tried this with Florida. Look where it got him. Down in the polls and out of the race.

    May 27, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Frank White

    For whatever reason you may wish to imput, we will never have a non-Christian President. Romney is a Mormom, a admittedly non-Christian religion. They might say the name "Christ" a lot, but the that doesn't make them Christians. There are certain articles of faith that must be in place to be a Christian that they do no adhere to. Now, I don't think it should matter what you believe, in fact, it is really no one's business what you believe; just how well you can do your job. Yet, the Conserative Christian faction, whatever they name is this time around, will not let him play ball in their court, so to speak. It would be the same for a Jew, Atheist, Pagan, and probably Catholic (Sorry Newt Gingrich). We did have a Catholic President once and somebody killed him. I just don't see this man winning the South at all; Texas and Floirda included. However, he will carry Utah, no porblem.

    May 27, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans look at Romney's religion as a Mormon the same way they look at Muslims, they don't care that he's the best qualified candidate.

    May 27, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. RAMBLE3144

    Hey, why not bring up his religion? And say it "raises brows".

    May 27, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, can he keep the campaign focused on his more recent conservative leanings? If he can't, then it will be a hard sell no matter how many accept his Mormon religion.

    May 27, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Amanda

    Guided tour and flip flops?? I'm just grateful to have a candidate who has morals, ethics, and actually has a knowledge of how to run a budget. We NEED Romney in 2012. He has my vote!

    May 27, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "For Mitt Romney, is it all about New Hampshire?"

    Hair first. NH second.

    May 27, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. B

    Romney will change between -Left and Right- as it suits his audience-

    May 27, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Njfinest2009

    where is Mittens birth certificate? and what foreign country's has he visited? what kind of steak did he eat for dinner last night? What beer summits did he attened? Where's Donald Trump when you need him? Hopefully doing some thing with his hair and making an appointment for mitt to be next! He looks like the villian off of spider man!

    May 27, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Jack

    LOL, he's running yet-again. The flip-flopping Mormon smear-monger & sleazebag, who implemented Obamacare in Massachusetts and now pretends he is opposed to it. Good luck selling THAT.

    May 27, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Brian

    As much as I don't like him, he's probably the best thing the Republicans have.

    May 27, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Voice of Reason

    Why cant we move the first primaries around – or better yet, have all the primaries on the same day? I'm sick of this idiotic pandering to Iowa and New Hampshire. We see these suck-ups start wearing flanel and john deere hats, and hanging around with these hayseed farmers in small town cafes. This doesnt address the needs of this nation and is NO way to determine which candidates are going to be on the ballot! This farce continues every four years for WHAT reason?? No one knows. Ridiculous. That's all I have to say. It makes me sick to my stomach.

    May 27, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |