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.