There are plenty of reasons that might explain the former Massachusetts governor’s surprisingly weak support among his former colleagues. But one of them stands out: He appears to have inadvertently alienated a good many of his fellow governors as RGA chairman.
“Right or wrong, the general impression was that he spent way too much time on himself and building his presidential organization,” said a top Republican strategist who has worked closely with the RGA in recent years. “I don’t think anyone ever questioned Romney’s commitment to the organization or the work he put in. They questioned his goals or his motives. Was it to elect Republican governors, or to tee up his presidential campaign?”
A campaign manager for an unsuccessful 2006 Republican gubernatorial campaign echoed the sentiments. “We definitely got the vibe from the staff that our state was never a national player when it came to the strategy that the RGA was putting together,” he said. “Everything they were telling me was about Michigan. They were dumping everything into Michigan.” ~The Politico
Long-time Eunomia readers will remember that I was talking about this in the wake of the 2006 debacle. The RGA under Romney directed a lot of its funding to gubernatorial races in three crucial early states (Florida, Iowa, Michigan) for the nomination in 2008, including a hopeless Michigan race in which Dick DeVos ended up being blown out by 18 points. The Michigan case was the most transparent example of Romney using the RGA as his own springboard, since Granholm’s re-election was never really in doubt and Romney’s personal and political interest in Michigan was obvious. We didn’t know at the time, but Romney’s penchant for throwing money at lost causes prefigured his own presidential campaign only too well.