Mitt Romney Moving to New Hampshire

Mitt Romney is busy selling off a few of many his mansions and plans to move to his family vacation home in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Hotline reports.  He has also registered his PAC there.  This has some people guessing that Romney is contemplating another run for the presidency.

“No doubt in my mind that they are doing the necessary maintenance to keep their network in New Hampshire together,” noted veteran Granite State GOP operative Mike Dennehy, who was a senior adviser to McCain’s 2008 campaign.

Establishing residency in NH could raise expectations for Romney’s performance in the state’s 2012 primary, but the state is also flush with important contests in the upcoming 2010 midterm elections, where Romney could lend a hand. First and foremost for Republicans, NH will host a critical Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R). At this point in the cycle, Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes is the only announced candidate, and with recent trends in the state, the seat is a top target for Democratic pick up. What’s more, Romney’s Wolfeboro home is in the 1st Congressional District, represented by Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who is likely to face a strong Republican challenge by Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. In both races Romney’s help–and even his vote–could matter.

At the same time, a case could be made for Romney to establish residency in CA [he already has a mansion in San Diego] instead. Romney’s loss to McCain in the Golden State on Super Tuesday last year was the death knell for his candidacy, given the state’s large share of delegates. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is a strong GOP contender for the open gubernatorial contest to replace outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), while Democrats barrel toward a competitive primary. Whitman originally endorsed Romney and assisted him in his primary campaign before he ended his bid, and former Romney campaign staffers are flocking to Whitman’s effort. And former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a top McCain surrogate, is looking seriously at a challenge to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

To the extent that the Republican nomination goes to the candidate whose “turn” it is, Romney is well positioned. Technically, Mike Huckabee finished slightly ahead of him in the 2008 delegate count, but only as a function of shamelessly campaigning for months after he was mathematically eliminated, whereas Romney had the good grace to bow out at CPAC once the writing was on the wall.

Romney’s relatively moderate but the political advantage of setting up shop in California would be negligible; no Republican is going to beat Obama there in 2012.  The power of New Hampshire in the nominating process, on the other hand, is as obvious as it is ridiculous.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Hey, maybe he’s just getting residency in NH so he can have a gay marriage!

  2. the political advantage of setting up shop in California would be negligible; no Republican is going to beat Obama there in 2012

    While I understand the sentiment, I think you are forgetting that with time, the worm turns. In 2004, who would have predicted that we would switch from republicans controlling in the White House, house and senate to the reverse in 4 years? Given the dysfunctional California legislature, Obama’s suicide run against capital with his deficits and political pay offs vs rule of law in the auto industry bailout and the exodus from California, I don’t think you can rule out the republicans taking California in 2012. I agree it is a huge hill to climb, but the democrats are doing all they can to wreck the economy and as one political person put it, “its the economy stupid”.

  3. FranklinTest says:

    the democrats are doing all they can to wreck the economy

    I thought it was already wrecked?

  4. Tlaloc says:

    I think he’ll be disappointed. With the current trajectory we’re set up for another big socons hissy fit (for one example the GOP’s new NCNA project completely ignores socon issues, like entirely, which has already started people like the FRC on the warpath). Romney’s a prime target for the wingnuts to focus their ire on what with the mormonism, the supposed socon issue flipflops, and the focus on economic issues.

    I’d expect them to hit him hard.

  5. Tlaloc says:

    Just for the record, Romney was one of the less offensive republican candidates in 2008, in my opinion. Unfortunately to possibly thrive he’d have to pull a McCain and repudiate all of his more decent impulses to appease a base that has essentially gone rabid.

    Unless by 2012 the stage really is set for a political realignment. I doubt that though. Too soon and too much to do.

    Hmmm, how is Romney viewed by hispanics?

  6. Brett says:

    He’s buying a house in New Hampshire? Yeah, that pretty much guarantees that he’s going to make another go at the nomination in 2012. Other candidates have tried that before, in Iowa (Chris Dodd).

    I wonder who Romney would be up against, though. There’s a chance that Huntsman might throw his hat in the ring, along with Mark Sanford. There’s probably a GOP senator or two who will try to take the nod, and the perennial losers who run to get attention.

  7. Tlaloc says:

    I don’t think you can rule out the republicans taking California in 2012.

    I have no problem ruling that out.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    I don’t think you can rule out the republicans taking California in 2012.

    The anti-immigrant policies of Pete Wilson and the GOP in the 90s pretty much knocked out the party in California, no? Yes, they took the governorship in this decade, but that was probably based more on Schwarzenegger’s celebrity status rather than the fact that he is a Republican…and as their stance on immigration hasn’t changed all that much, I find it hard to believe that the GOP will be able to do much of anything in California anytime soon…

  9. Tlaloc says:

    The last time the GOP took California was 1988 during Dukakis’ incredibly bad run for president. The GOP was coming off of the quite popular Reagan presidency and pappy Bush nearly swept the electoral college. Despite that California was still the sixth closest race with Bush winning it by less than 4%.

    In 2012 the GOP is still going to be trying to recover their brand identity and may very well be facing more bruising interparty fighting. Plus the demographics stuff. It’s a lot more likely the Dems will take Texas than that the GOP will take Cali (and I consider a blue Tx pretty unlikely).

  10. just me says:

    I think he would still like to be president, but I also wonder if he may not be looking at the senate seat Gregg is vacating.