The Washington Post

Romney says he can win ‘in Dixie’ and has eyes on Texas

WithTexas Gov. Rick Perry preparing to announce his presidential candidacy, the front-runner of the unsettled Republican field, Mitt Romney, signaled Monday night that he would not cede any territory.

Asked at a town hall meeting here whether he could compete in the South, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said he would compete all over the country.

“I think I can do pretty darn well in Dixie,” Romney said. “Last time around [in his 2008 campaign], I made a real stand in Florida. Now most people don’t consider that Dixie, but it sure is the South. And I sure hope to win the primaries in Florida, get some delegates out of Florida, and I’d sure like to win South Carolina. And West Virginia.”

Then Romney turned to Texas.

“There was a poll, I guess about a month ago, that was a little surprising,” Romney said. “It had me as the only Republican candidate who in Texas could beat President Obama.”

“So I’d like to get Texas,” Romney added, “and, you know, Mississippi, Alabama — I want all the states.”

It was unclear which poll Romney was referencing. A June poll by Public Policy Polling found Obama performing weakest against Romney in Texas, trailing him 42 percent to 50 percent. The poll also found Obama beating Perry in the Lone Star State, while the president trailed Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, albeit by smaller margins than Romney’s.

In the town hall, Romney acknowledged the difficulty of running the table, saying, “I know I’m not going to get them all.”

Romney also signaled that the nomination battle could be long.

“This is a race for me of getting the delegates and winning the nomination, and that’s going to be a long process in my opinion,” Romney said. “That’s why I have to campaign across the nation and raise the money.”

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Quoted
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.