Romney brings strong organization into Saturday’s caucuses
February 3rd, 2012
08:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney brings strong organization into Saturday’s caucuses

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney is counting on his contacts and organization from his 2008 victory in the Nevada caucuses to help propel him to a victory on Saturday.

He has the endorsement of the lieutenant governor, eight of 10 state senators and two members of Congress and has stayed in contact with other Nevada officials.

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"We built the organization in 2008 and he has been here repeatedly" since then, Ryan Erwin, a Nevada consultant working for the Romney campaign, told CNN.

Even before he announced his bid for his second presidential run, Romney came to the state for several events and has returned several times since helping to make sure voters are familiar with him.

"He has been here as a candidate and as a non-candidate," Erwin said. "We have kept people interested and engaged."

In the last few months the Romney team has ramped up as the voting season got under way. It is being aided by the grassroots organizations of some of its supporters to help guarantee they are not complacent and come out to the caucuses.

"Over the next several hours we've got our traditional GOTV (get out the vote) activities, making calls, and these kind of separate organizations tag-teaming with their own," Erwin said.

Erwin estimated 75% of the precincts in the state will have a Romney chairman to support the effort.

"We're working this until the bell sounds. You have to. You can't take anything for granted," Erwin told CNN.

While Romney has not been saying it on the stump, his campaign and supporters have been hitting rival Newt Gingrich hard in the last week in television ads and in mailers over what they call his past ethical troubles while speaker of the House and his consulting contract with the mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Romney's campaign also has been sending out pamphlets that are positive about its candidate to help burnish his image.

Romney and Ron Paul are both considered to have strong organizations in the state. Both have the resources that have helped them air television commercials although the amount is not near what it has been in some of the previous early voting states.

Paul's supporters are considered by state Republican leaders to be some of the most enthusiastic this year.

"We have been running a traditional effort to rally caucus-goers in Dr. Paul's direction, door to door, phone calls and the like, building on the 2008 campaign's base of support," Paul campaign spokesman Gary Howard told CNN.

Nevada Republican National Committee member Heidi Smith, who has not endorsed a candidate, attended various campaign events this week and told CNN her sense is that Romney and Paul have the strongest infrastructures.

"I think it will be a Romney-Paul event," she said. "Romney probably has the upper hand."

If the turnout is on the lighter side, that could help Paul and he could even come in second place, Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston said Friday on CNN's "John King, USA."

Gingrich, who came in second in a Las Vegas Review-Journal/KLAS poll this week, is seen to have a weaker organization and got a late start.

He is counting on tea party and conservative activists coming out on his behalf. While several tea party leaders are supporting Gingrich, their support is divided.

Tea party favorite Sharron Angle, the Republican senatorial nominee in 2010, endorsed Rick Santorum this week. In that survey among strong Tea Party supporters, 37% said they supported Gingrich, 27% Romney and 20% went for Santorum.

"I don't see any large groups going in any direction. I truly feel the Tea Party has as many variations inside them as the standard people voting in Nevada," Smith said.

Gingrich also is hoping to court the evangelical vote holding a Friday night event with religious leaders who have endorsed him.

"Because I truly believe that America is a nation at a critical juncture, I've invited leaders of all kinds to join us," said Pastor Paul Goulet of the International Church, the largest non-denominational church in the state. "The Speaker will be sharing his heart and give us a chance to ask question at the end of the prayer meeting.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry chose to not side with another candidate after Perry dropped out, which is welcome news to the Romney camp.

"Any candidate's ability to use [Sandoval's endorsement] would have been helpful. Endorsements really matter in a caucus state when there is an organization" to help the candidate, said one Republican operative who asked that his name not be used so he could speak freely. "Anybody would love to have him."

- Follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter: @KevinBohnCNN.

Also see:

Romney on 'poor' comment: I misspoke

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A Trump endorsement: Where imagination and reality meets

Gingrich to challenge Florida delegates

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Nevada
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Freaky Bofunkle

    The only Republican I would ever vote for President is Ron Paul. Not for a Million Dollars would I vote for Romney.

    February 4, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  2. diridi

    go to youtube, type When Mitt Romney came to Town, know all about him....good luck..

    February 4, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  3. Willie Floyd

    Don't forget to add his $$$$$$$$!!

    February 4, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. Marie MD

    Too bad that this "strong organization" wasn't used when you were making money by firing Americans workers and closing down plants and businesses.

    February 4, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  5. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Give your Rmoney boosterism a rest, CNN. What's with this phony "strong organization" meme your phony reporters keep tossing around? A campaign involving a candidate who frequently misspeaks, and gets easily flustered is not the mark of a "strong campaign." A campaign that waffles on releasing damaging tax forms, and switches debate coaches mid-campaign is not a "strong organization." And a campaign that suffers through an idiot-Trump endorsement with no strategy for handling unwanted endorsements is NOT a "strong campaign." So stop fellating the Rmoney gang, CNN, and start doing your jobs as real journalists. Start by frequently mentioning the latest poll showing nearly THREE QUARTERS of Americans (including a majority of rank and file Republicans!) want to raise taxes on the rich. In the meantime, corrupt corporatist media outlets like CNN censor the stories that threaten corrupt corporate interests. It isn't gonna work, CNN, we see who you are really serving.

    February 4, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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