Michigan native Mitt Romney rolled over Governor Rick Perry of Texas and the rest of his Republican presidential rivals in a Michigan straw poll yesterday, reinforcing a favorite-son status that could make it tough for anyone else to win the state’s GOP primary.
It was the second day of bad news for Perry, who lost to businessman Herman Cain in a Florida straw poll Saturday before heading to the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan. Perry’s second-place finish in Florida came just days after he faltered in a debate in Orlando, Fla. Romney came in third there, although he isn’t officially competing in straw polls.
In the Michigan straw poll, Romney won 50.1 percent of the 681 votes cast compared to 16.8 percent for Perry. Cain got 8.5 percent, while Representative Ron Paul of Texas got 7.7 percent. Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann received 4 percent; former House speaker Newt Gingrich won 3.5 percent; former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum got 3.4 percent; and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman got 2 percent.
More than 1,600 elected officials and party regulars attended Michigan’s three-day conference, and state Republican chairman Bobby Schostak said it is no surprise that the former Massachusetts governor did so well in yesterday’s poll.
His father, George Romney, headed American Motors before becoming Michigan governor in the 1960s. And many people in the conference audience that Mitt Romney addressed Saturday night said they liked his similar mix of experience in the public and private sectors.
“His roots are here, they’re strong, and he’s the one to beat,’’ Schostak said.
Perry assured the party chairman Saturday that he will spend lots of time in the state, among several that will hold Feb. 28 presidential contests right after the traditional early states - Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada - hold theirs. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Perry will appear Friday in N.H. town hall forum
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry will be conducting his first two town halls in New Hampshire next weekend.
Perry, the Texas governor, entered the race late and quickly vaulted to the top of the polls. But coming off a tepid performance in Thursday’s debate, Perry must prove that he is able to campaign and connect with voters as a candidate. His main Republican rival, Mitt Romney, has benefited from his own previous campaign experience during his 2008 run for president.
In New Hampshire, town hall meetings, along with smaller forums like meet-and-greets, are must-do events for the candidates. Until recently, Romney was the only candidate doing multiple town hall meetings, though former Utah governor Jon Huntsman recently did his first one in the Granite State. Representative Ron Paul of Texas has done some town halls as well, and has two more planned in the next two weeks.
Perry will hold his first meeting at 6 p.m. Friday at the Upper Village Town Hall in East Derry. He will then hold another town hall meeting Saturday morning at the One Liberty Lane Conference Center in Hampton.
The Saturday event will be the first in a series of economic-focused town halls with the presidential candidates, sponsored by “We the People,’’ a limited-government advocacy group.
Paul will be the second presidential candidate to do a We the People Town Hall, at 6:30 p.m. next Monday at Nashua Community College. Other candidates who have committed to participating in the group’s series later include Romney, Huntsman, and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
Paul will also be doing a town hall meeting on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Thomas More College in Merrimack. That will follow a full day of campaigning for Paul. Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer will also be campaigning in New Hampshire throughout the week. - SHIRA SCHOENBERG
In new poll, Romney again ahead of opponents in N.H.
Lest you think the Suffolk University poll out last week in New Hampshire - placing Mitt Romney far ahead of his Republican rival Rick Perry - was a fluke, Rasmussen Reports has found it wasn’t.
As the Globe reported last week, the Suffolk University poll had Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, getting support from 41 percent of respondents. The poll put Perry, the Texas governor, in fourth place in New Hampshire, with just 8 percent. That flipped the national trend, where Perry is edging out Romney as the front-runner.
The Suffolk poll was the first one out in over a month in New Hampshire, since Perry’s campaign has solidified. (Representative Ron Paul of Texas and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman came in second and third with 14 and 10 percent, respectively.)
Now, a Rasmussen poll out Friday found similar results - with Romney again trouncing the rest of the Republican field, getting support from 39 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Perry did do better in the Rasmussen poll, coming in second with 18 percent. (The poll was conducted before Thursday’s debate, in which Perry had a relatively poor showing.) Paul came in third with 13 percent, followed by Huntsman at 7 percent. The rest of the field was in the low single digits.
Both polls show a similar trend. Romney, who was governor in neighboring Massachusetts and has a summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, remains the clear New Hampshire favorite. But Romney’s lead narrows in the Rasmussen poll among Tea Party voters, indicating that he is having less success attracting the most conservative voters. - SHIRA SCHOENBERG