Top Republican: If Romney Loses Michigan, GOP Must Find New Candidates

ABC News’s Jonathan Karl reports on a sentiment that find entirely unsurprising:

A prominent Republican senator just told me that if Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race.

“If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate,” said the senator, who has not endorsed anyone and requested anonymity.

The senator believes Romney will ultimately win in Michigan but says he will publicly call for the party to find a new candidate if he does not.

“We’d get killed,” the senator said if Romney manages to win the nomination after he failed to win the state in which he grew up.

“He’d be too damaged,” he said.  “If he can’t even win in Michigan, where his family is from, where he grew up.”

What about Rick Santorum?

“He’d lose 35 states,” the senator said, predicting the same fate for Newt Gingrich.

This is only one Senator, but I think he’s expressing a sentiment that is likely rather common among Republican insiders at this point. Without Romney’s inevitability argument, the field of Republican candidates is down to three candidates that cannot possibly win a General Election and pose the serious risk of causing down-ballot damage in House and Senate races. As I said just the other day, this is an expected and natural response, but it’s unlikely to work:

[I]f Romney manages to lose Michigan then the GOP Establishment is going to end up going into panic mode. Instead of a clear but bumpy path to the nomination for a guy the base is uncomfortable with, but whom has at least a chance to win a General Election, they’ll be faced with a candidate likely to alienate female and independent voters in swing states across the nation, raising the prospect not only of an Obama victory in November but also damage to the GOP further down the ballot. Of course, there will be little they can do about all of that at this point but I would expect to hear talk of favorite son candidates and brokered conventions to reach a fever pitch.

The odds that they’d actually be able to pull off bringing in another candidate to save the day are incredibly low and, in fact, only likely to cause resentment among the party’s base. It sure would be a fun spectacle to watch, though.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    I think I have time to move to Michigan and register to vote…

  2. Jr says:

    To late, your stuck with him.

  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    The entire white knight whether imposed or emerging from a brokered convention scenario is baloney. To start with none of these three is going to stand aside and then the white knights look more like Don Quixote than Ivanhoe. Any of them with an eye on 2016 have no intention of signing on for this debacle so who does this leave?

  4. Bill Grant says:

    You are suggesting that the infallible Republican establishment that gave us such sure winners as Ford, Dole, and McCain are going to declare a loss if Romney can’t make it. Forgive me if I snicker and remark that this establishment couldn’t identify “gravitas” if it walked up and smacked them in the nose. But, the Republican Party of Virginia looks pretty stupid for rigging its primary process to ensure a Romney win.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    If you want a laugh read the comment thread at the bottom of the Karl story. Names to conjure with…. Jeb Bush….Fred Thompson…..Colin Powell……Rudy…..”Eyeshade” Daniels….Paul Ryan……the only one missing is Mickey Mouse.

  6. de stijl says:

    @Bill Grant:

    that gave us such sure winners as Ford, Dole, and McCain

    The platonic ideal of a Republican Presidential candidate probably could not have one of those elections. Pardoning Nixon (and even then Ford lost by a whisker), running against an incumbent during an economic boom, and following up the least popular President since Truman ain’t an easy gig whether you’re the Establishment candidate or not.

    the Republican Party of Virginia looks pretty stupid for rigging its primary process to ensure a Romney win

    You say it was rigged, I say it was incompetent and / or unorganized campaigns that failed to get the required number of valid signatures by the deadline.

  7. A prominent Republican senator just told me that if Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race.

    How? It’s too late to get anyone on the ballot in mosts states. Do you think the existing candidates are going to give their slots to someone else?

  8. JohnMcC says:

    What impresses me about this line of BS is what my friend Joe remarks on above. We hear that this current field is not the ‘varsity’ for the Repub’s. Does that mean that — well — Bobby Jindal or Sarah! would be standing out like men among boys had they chosen ’12 as their year? You BETCHA on that, eh? Would the chance to vote for a third Bush send right-wing hearts all aflutter?

    Fact is that bad thinking and bad ideas and bad candidates are a syndrome that tends to occur all together and all at once.

  9. john personna says:

    @Bill Grant:

    Ford, Dole, and McCain

    Flattening those guys into one narrative is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard. They were not exactly peas in a pod. Ford was chosen as an anti-Agnew and for his native boredom and for normalcy. McCain was a reformed Congressional bad-boy. Dole might have been conventional, but that made him the odd man out in that group.

  10. john personna says:

    (Or maybe I misunderstand, and in this environment an “establishment” candidate is one with arguable sanity.)

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Jeb Bush or Rubio. I don’t dismiss this scenario, sorry, I think it’s possible. No one gives a damn about Romney and the only reason anyone cares about Santorum is that he’s not Romney.

    So the way it works is that intense pressure is brought to bear on donors to shut off money to both these losers in a desperate attempt to squeeze them out. In go the favorite sons. And the party rushes to change its rules.

    It can be done. And despite the stumble it could actually work.

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Jeb Bush or Rubio. I don’t dismiss this scenario, sorry, I think it’s possible.

    All things are possible Michael but on a spectrum of impossible to probable…it’s definitely on the left of the curve. The notion that Bush (who is going to revive all the bad associations) and Rubio (unknown and with a mass of horrible baggage) are going to be a silver bullet is improbable. It would be out of the frying pan into the fire as the current three declare open war against the white hopes for 2016. Nah.

  13. legion says:

    If Romney Loses Michigan, GOP Conservatives Must Find New CandidatesParty

    Fixed that.

  14. JohnMcC says:

    @legion: I find that unclear. If Santorum wins MI, then winguts will migrate like Mormons to a new Zion?

    A Santorum victory in MI will give the so-called-conservatives a 1964 feeling all over again and they will rejoice that they stole ‘their’ party back.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Long odds, I agree, but I’d call it a 1 in 5 shot right now.

  16. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And the party rushes to change its rules.

    And somehow this won’t provoke a populist backlash?

  17. Ron Beasley says:

    The Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for this. They have pandered to a group of knuckle dragging Neanderthals to win elections. But they haven’t pandered enough and like Frankenstein the base is revolting and wants one of it’s own to take us back to the good old days of the 16th century. John Cole sums it up pretty well:

    They’ve spent so much time lying about everything and creating an echo chamber to reinforce and transmit those lies within the so-called “conservative” movement that quite simply, anyone who appeals to the wingnut base is someone so twisted as to be utterly repugnant to the rest of the nation.

  18. Kelsonus says:

    I’d say that Senator is part of the establishment and has spent too long inside the beltway

    Give us big ideas ( a shining City on a Hill )
    And a manner in which to express and defend Conservatism ( there he goes again, Reagan: Speech at the Republican National Convention, August 19, 1976 )
    And you’ll have a landslide

    Romney doesn’t believe in Conservatism
    Santorum hasn’t stated big ideas
    Paul isn’t Conservative, he’s Liberal Libertarian

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Kelsonus: Is that you, Eric?

  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    The Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for this. They have pandered to a group of knuckle dragging Neanderthals to win elections.

    At bottom this is the problem. Republican strategists like Atwater and Rove let the Morlocks out of the basement to maximise the Republican vote and now they’ve taken over the house.

  21. An Interested Party says:

    Give us big ideas ( a shining City on a Hill )
    And a manner in which to express and defend Conservatism ( there he goes again, Reagan: Speech at the Republican National Convention, August 19, 1976 )
    And you’ll have a landslide

    Sorry to break it to you, but there is no new Reagan to help the GOP…the landslide coming up may be more like 1964 rather than like 1984…

  22. mike says:

    Im from michigan and i can tell you me and my friends all think Romney is a big joke. He was born here but he IS NOT a michigander. This whole state relys on detroit which he him self said let die. If detroit died the stated would die.

    This is a blue color state we work and work hard to build this country. Romney dont know the meaning of the word work. He knows the meaning of money and buying companies selling them off in parts and firing alot of people to many a dollar.

    Just say no to Romney