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Romney’s New Hampshire moment

at 06:30 AM ET, 05/27/2011


Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will announce for president in New Hampshire on June 2. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The news that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will formally announce his presidential bid next Thursday isn’t terribly surprising. That he will do so in New Hampshire is interesting --- and telling.

Three years ago, Romney tried to run the table of early-voting states — spending millions of dollars in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina only to lose all three and, with them, the nomination.

While his aides insist he will not be skipping Iowa — and he is slated to make a series of stops in the state today — it’s clear that for Romney, New Hampshire is the must-have victory of the 2012 race.

“No Republican has ever won contested events in Iowa and New Hampshire in the same year since [Gerald] Ford,” said former New Hampshire Republican party chairman Fergus Cullen. “Mitt tried last time and failed in both places. I don’t expect they will try to do that again.”

Romney is playing from a position of power in the Granite State. Not only did he spend four years as governor of a neighboring state but Romney also maintains a home on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H.

In the 2008 race, Romney tried to run as a native son in New Hampshire, but after being edged by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses, he was ambushed by Arizona Sen. John McCain in the Granite State — finishing second, six points off the lead.

In the intervening years, Romney has worked hard to maintain relationships in the state and to solidify his support. “He has spent the last two years meeting lots of grassroots Republicans and has done more fundraising and donated more to state candidates than anyone else,” said Steve Duprey, a Republican National Committeeman from New Hampshire. (Duprey’s wife is working as a volunteer for Romney, but he is neutral.)

Polling in the state suggests Romney’s hard work has paid off. A CNN/WMUR-TV poll released last week showed Romney at 32 percent, with no other candidate in double digits.

The race will almost certainly tighten as it engages, as both former Minnesota governor Jon Huntsman and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty will make a concerted effort in the state.

But, no candidate needs a New Hampshire win as much as Romney, because he faces longer odds of victory in Iowa and South Carolina. Without a win in New Hampshire, Romney could face a repeat of the 2008 race. And coming up short in a second straight presidential bid would effectively end his political career.

Facebook hires Bush aides: Facebook has hired two former aides to President George W. Bush as lobbyists.

Joel Kaplan, who served as deputy chief of staff in the White House, will be vice president of U.S. public policy. Myriah Jordan, who worked in the chief of staff’s office under Bush, will serve as a policy manager, focusing on congressional relations.

Facebook, which conservatives have accused of being biased towards Demcorats, now has four registered lobbyists. The new Republicans join Democrats Tim Sparapani and Adam Conner.

Fixbits:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says he’s “proud” of his actions surrounding Sen. John Ensign’s (R-Nev.) scandal. Coburn has been accused of being an intermediary between Ensign and the husband of Ensign’s mistress, discussing compensation for the man.

A full 87 percent of New Hampshire primary voters say they are completely open-minded about who they will vote for in the 2012 GOP presidential primary.

The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed President Obama for a second term.

Fox News is not looking at suspending Sarah Palin’s contract, even as she makes moves towards a potential presidential bid.

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) has set July 6 as the deadline for determining candidates for the Sept. 13 special election in the state’s 2nd congressional district, which was vacated by appointed Sen. Dean Heller (R).

Must-reads:

Reality Check: How Republican is NY-26?” — Dan Roem, National Journal

Bachmann hints strongly at a 2012 run” — Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker, The Washington Post

Gingrich casts himself as a ‘comeback kid’ during New Hampshire visit” — Nia-Malika Henderson and Dan Eggen, The Washington Post

On Medicare and budget, Clinton may not be helping his party” — Perry Bacon Jr., The Washington Post

 
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