Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney received two high profile endorsements today. One each in the two key early primary states of New Hampshire and Florida. He also received a third endorsement from a less visible but equally as important freshman Congressman.
In New Hampshire, Judd Gregg, a popular former Governor and three term Senator from the Granite State announced his support
of Romney, and in Florida, former Senator and RNC Chairman Mel Martinez did the same.
Also today, Romney picked up the endorsement of freshman Congressman Michael Grimm.
His endorsement may not attract as much news as Gregg’s and Martinez’s public support but as a former Republican operative in Grimm’s congressional districts which spans Staten Island and Brooklyn, I can tell you, that Grimm’s support is just as important.
Grimm took back the seat formerly held by disgraced Republican Congressman Vito Fossella. In 2008, the seat went to a Democrat, but in 2010, Michael Grimm won it back for the G.O.P. The district encompasses the most heavily Republican section of New York City ……all of Staten Island, and the Southwest portion of Brooklyn, which send one of the City’s only Republicans to the New York State Senate. Beyond that, the political machine that Grimm represents and is controlled by former Congressman Guy Molinari, is an extremely heavy handed, Republican regime with a great deal of influence in the New York G.O.P. This means that freshman Congressman Mike Grimm’s endorsement of Romney is an early signal of widespread organizational support. In other words, Romney is locking New York up for himself.
This will help to dissuade others from forcing Romney to spend money on the New York presidential primary, a contest that because of its placement amid very expensive media markets, could be quite expensive.
New York could be important in the nomination process. It offers 95 delegates, one of the largest in the nation. That’s only four less than Florida,
and because the Sunshine State has violated RNC rules by setting an earlier than allowed date for their primary, they could see their delegate count cut in half.
Unfortunately for Romney though, the New York presidential primary is not held until April 24th. However; if the early primary contests do not
produce a clear frontrunner thereby allowing us to have a presumptive nominee, New York could be decisive. In fact mark April 24th on your calendars. On that day, New York will not be alone in holding its presidential primary. For the first time, we the 2012 nomination contest will be experiencing a sort of Northeast version of the South’s Super Tuesday. Call it a Northeast Mega Primary. On that day 231 delegates will be up for grabs form among 5 Northeastern states:
- Connecticut – 28 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
- Delaware – 17 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
- New York – 95 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
- Pennsylvania– 72 – PrimaryLoophole Primary – Closed
- Rhode Island – 19 – Primary/Proportional – Modified
If one of the candidates has not practically wrapped up the nomination by then, Romney could be the one to do it on that day. All 5 of those
states are largely fertile for a Romney.
So while Congressman Grimm’s endorsement may not grab the headlines that Gregg’s and Martinez’s endorsements will, it is as , or even more important. In the case of Judd Gregg, while he is popular in New Hampshire, his electoral influence is debatable. In 2000, Judd Gregg, then a sitting U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, endorsed Texas Governor George W. Bush for President and Senator John McCain wound up winning that primary.
Mel Martinez is a different story though. While how much sway he still has among Florida’s voters is iffy, he does have the potential to influence important parts of the electorate there. Particularly the higher than average Cuban-American population. This can only help Romney in a state where he will need all the help he can to fend off Herman Cain and Rick Perry.
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