In South Carolina, Not Much Love For Romney, Bush

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chabot: Bay State pols could bring big bucks to Granite State primary.

The Tea Party Texan made his disapproval with a possible third Romney bid clear Sunday at a conservative convention in the early primary state of South Carolina. “If we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, John McCain or Mitt Romney … the same people who stayed home in ’08 and ’12 will stay home in ’16 and the Democrat will win again,” Cruz said at the annual South Carolina Tea Party conference, according to NBC News. “Do we go back to the same old, same old?Bay State heavyweights Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Warren, if they run, could bring more to the 2016 presidential contest than their talked-about political clout. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, reiterated his pitch on Sunday that if Republicans nominate a moderate candidate to be their presidential nominee in 2016, they’ll lose the White House to the Democrats again. Ted Cruz is urging South Carolina conservatives to help nominate a Republican president from their own ranks in 2016 or risk losing a third consecutive national election.

With his comments, Cruz became the latest Republican naysayer over another run by Romney, who said earlier this month he was seriously considering a third try. South Carolina GOP Chairman Matt Moore recently reported that state’s contentious 2012 Republican primary brought in $50 million worth of economic and marketing benefits.

South Carolina Republican consultant Chip Felkel said the more competitive the better. “We got a lot of coverage and benefits from our last primary,” Felkel said. In addition to spending and national coverage from reporters, the race was so close in the Palmetto State that all Republican candidates spent heavily. Cruz called GOP nominees like Mitt Romney in 2012, John McCain in 2008 and Bob Dole in 1996 “good, honorable and decent men” but not conservative enough.

The fact that the field was so competitive — with Romney facing Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, among others — added to the unusually high profits, Felkel said. The spending broke down to $19.5 million in out-of-state money from campaigns, their supporters and others on hotel, staff, car rentals, food, advertising and travel.

Romney weathered an uneasy relationship with the GOP’s conservative wing in 2012 in part because no single candidate among several conservative alternatives could sustain a viable campaign. A third-time GOP candidate Romney — likely facing some combo of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry — and progressive darling Warren facing Hillary Clinton or an even wider Democratic field — will bring in more press and more campaign spending in the first in the nation primary held in New Hampshire, said former GOP chairman Fergus Cullen. “Does it fill hotel rooms for a couple weeks in middle of winter that might have normally been empty? Tea party convention goers from several states this weekend have expressed optimism that the new dynamic could create an opening for Cruz or another establishment critic if he can consolidate rank-and-file conservatives who distrust the GOP’s traditional power structure. Cruz, beloved among tea party conservatives for his role in the partial government shutdown in October 2013, pointed to the GOP’s success in the November midterms as proof that the nation is ready for an unapologetically conservative president.

The “Washington graybeards” warned that the fight over the nation’s borrowing limit was “too risky” and would cost Republicans in 2014, he said. “We just saw an historic tidal wave of an election,” Cruz said, adding that the “graybeards” still haven’t admitted their political calculus was wrong. Tom Harkin took his home state of Iowa in 1992, and some blamed Hillary Clinton’s 2008 loss there on Bill’s failure to build a ground campaign there. To Republicans who say such moves are too sweeping, Cruz again invoked Reagan, framing him as a bedrock conservative who battled the establishment of his day. Cruz did not acknowledge that Reagan, while animating conservatives and attracting Democrats from the middle, also fashioned a series of compromises with Democrats and moderate Republicans on taxes, budgets, immigration and Social Security, among other issues. Another conservative favorite, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, offered the convention a long indictment of what he called a welfare state that has locked millions of Americans in poverty.

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