By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney won impressive victories in both Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday. Romney’s Alabama campaign is working on building on that momentum here in Alabama. ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ had exclusive telephone comments with former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors who is working with the Romney Presidential Campaign here in Alabama.
Marty Connors said that Tuesday’s Michigan victory was a huge win for Romney because so much of the primary process is driven by emotion. Connors said the really impressive part of the Michigan victory is that Gov. Romney was running against both Santorum and the United Auto Workers. Connors said that the automobile industry is a huge part of Alabama’s new economy. Alabama is 3rd in automobile manufacturing largely because this is a right to work state. Connors said that Mitt’s strong support of right to work laws should work well for him in Tennessee and on March 13th with Alabama voters.
We asked Chairman Connors if Mitt Romney strengthened his position so much after victories in Arizona and Michigan that the possibility of a brokered convention in August now seem distant or will this thing run on past April? He said, “I have never thought that we would have a brokered convention.” Connors said that it is possible that the race could go to the convention because “Mitt still needs 1144 delegates.”
We asked Connors if Romney will contest Alabama, or will he yield the South to Gingrich and Santorum? Connors said 4 weeks ago Romney had 27% support in a four way field in Alabama. Now it is likely he can grow that margin here. “I am thinking that a win in Ohio will help Mitt in Alabama.” “Gingrich is struggling to hold on in his home state of Georgia. He only has a 7 point margin in Georgia.” A strong showing on Super Tuesday would help Romney’s momentum in Alabama.
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ asked: Romney has won 6 of 10 contests thus far. He has won in New England in Maine and New Hampshire, in the west in Nevada and Arizona, in the Midwest in Michigan, and down south in Florida Does that demonstrate that he has the national appeal to be the most electable candidate?” Connors said, “Well I would not count Florida as a southern state. Florida is more of its’ own country than a state.” “Mitt needs a win in a Dixie state.” Connors said that it is not necessary for Romney to win Alabama. Since Alabama awards its delegates proportionally if Romney wins at least 20% of the state Gov. Romney will add to his growing delegate count. It is not necessary to win the state of Alabama to win delegates in Alabama. Connors said that if Gov. Romney wins in a state that borders Gingrich’s home state it would be “a monumental win.”
We asked if Romney will contest Alabama, or will he yield the South to Gingrich and Santorum? Connors said 4 weeks ago Romney had 27% support in a four way field. Now it is likely he can grow that margin here. “I am thinking that a win in Ohio will help Mitt in Alabama.” “Gingrich is struggling to hold on in his home state of Georgia. He only has a 7 point margin in Georgia.” A strong showing on Super Tuesday will help Romney’s momentum in Alabama. Because Alabama has proportional awards of delegates 20% of the vote is enough to win delegates. A strong showing in Alabama and the other Dixie states strengthens Romney’s candidacy.
We asked if Gov. Romney is coming too Alabama? Connors said that he participated in a conference call where discussions of a possible Romney visit in Alabama were discussed; but no decision has been made yet. Ann Romney attended a fundraiser in Alabama on Friday February 24 and “We raised well over $100,000 that day.” “Romney has raised more money in Alabama to this point than all the other presidential candidates combined.”
We asked: Has this over six months of Republican back biting and Infighting helped Barack Obama’s reelection chances? “Temporarily yes, but it also has made the eventual nominee a better candidate.” “New revelations are more damaging than old revelations.” Connors said that voters have been forgiving of New Gingrich’s two divorces and past marital issues while Herman Cain’s campaign was upended over allegations of marital infidelity. Connors said that this process will lead to a stronger eventual Republican nominee.
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ asked if the Republican Party was stronger if they focused on economic issues like jobs, the debt, and energy rather than focus on some of the social issues. Connors said, “Absolutely, Jim Demint (R-SC) recently said that the Republican Party is a big tent but the center pole of the Republican Party is economic issues like fiscal responsibility, limited government, and economic opportunity.” There are lots of poles in the Republican tent but those poles are on the edges. Gov. Romney has focused on those economic issues that unify Republicans. “We think the more we discuss jobs and the economy the better off we are.”