Romney gave an endorsement on Tuesday to South Carolina Rep Nikki Haley for Governor, by-passing Gresham Barrett. Barnett is one in a pool of GOP candidates for current Governor Stanford’s position. Romney a favorite of South Carolina, US Senator Jim DeMint, carried Romney’s torch in South Carolina during Mitts last failed presidential race. Romney coming in fourth during the S.C. elections for the GOP contender for President, not an astounding victory in the state race. Romney’s strategy was for South Carolina to be a crack in the southern states for his 2008 run.
Rep Nikki Haley was a favorite of Governor Stanford and his wife Jenny, prior to Stanford disappearance on the Appalachian Trail with a path leading to Argentina and a mistress. On June 23, 2009, the missing governor’s staff announced the governor would soon be back in his office, and by June 24, 2009, Rep Nikki Haley, removed reference to Governor Stanford on her web site. Politics makes fair weather friends.
One is going to need a score card to keep track of all the campaigns Romney,as well as his staff is involved in, and South Carolina is going to be no different. While Romney’s endorsement of Haley sent a flurry of articles in the press, under the radar is another governor candidate, brushed on in Ben Smith’s article regarding the high level of Romney’s people’s, or former people who have worked on Romney’s campaigns during Mitts last Presidential run which are associated with Barrett, and may give Romney a cushion in S.C., should his endorsed candidate not win.
Ben Smith writes, "Mitt Romney broke with his local operation today and endorsed State Senator Nikki Haley for the Republican nomination for governor. ... Haley, a relative outsider -- though she was a Sanford ally -- and a woman of South Asian descent is seen by many as a talented politician and the face of the Republican future. But she's also facing a tough field of rivals, including Rep. Gresham Barrett, whose consultant, Warren Tompkins, ran Romney's state campaign."
Mitt passing by Barnett was a bit of a surprise, since there are many people involved in Barnett’s campaign, as alluded to in Ben Smiths article, which have strong Romney ties. Warren Tompkins, Gresham Barrett consultant, ran Romney campaign in South Carolina. Then there is Jim Dyke & Associates which has been tied tightly with Barnett. If one recalls the recent announcement of Kevin Madden, Mitt Romney’s communications strategist, move to the Charleston, S.C. based, Jim Dyke & Associates, as vice president of public affairs.
Romney could be hoping this is a win, win situation for him, with the possibility of two candidates being favorable for him. Fred Thompson has backed Barrett. Despite Thompson being the target of a political dirty trick by Romney’s campaign in 2008, as reported in the Washington Post:
“Top adviser to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appears to be behind today's launch of a new Web site attacking GOP presidential rival Fred Thompson.”
“The site, www.phoneyfred.org, paints an unflattering picture of Thompson, dubbing him: Fancy Fred, Five O'clock Fred, Flip-Flop Fred, McCain Fred, Moron Fred, Playboy Fred, Pro-Choice Fred, Son-of-a-Fred and Trial Lawyer Fred.
“Shortly after a Washington Post reporter made inquiries about the site to the Romney campaign, the site was taken down.”
“Before it vanished, the front page of the website featured a picture of a regal Thompson dressed in a frilly outfit more befitting a Gilbert and Sullivan production than a presidential campaign. Under the heading, "Playboy Fred," the site asks the question: "Once a Pro-Choice Skirt Chaser, Now Standard Bearer of the Religious Right?"
“The Power Lines, the political consulting firm of Warren Tompkins, Romney's lead consultant in South Carolina.”
“The website is hosted by a company called bluehost.com, a firm based in Orem, Utah.”
“A spokesman for Romney's campaign said he would look into questions about the anti-Thompson site.”Our campaign is focused on the issues and ideas that are of paramount concern to voters," said spokesman Kevin Madden. "The website we are focused on is MittRomney.com."
“Tompkins did not return calls or emails for comment”
Despite the attack, Fred’s legal staff went on to Romney’s staff, after Thompson dropped out of the presidential race, and later Fred Thompson supported John McCain. The movement of Thompson legal staff was reported on Boston dot com:
”A “Sizable segment of Thompson's team of legal advisers quickly signed on with Mitt Romney.”
“The Romney campaign announced yesterday that ten members of the "Lawyers for Fred Thompson" group had joined the former Massachusetts governor's campaign, including the Thompson group's former national co-chair, Victoria Toensing, a former Reagan Justice Department official and prominent legal commentator.”
“Other Fred campaign refugees finding a new home with Romney were former Bush-Cheney lawyers Lizette D. Benedi, Rachel L. Brand, Reginald Brown, Viet D. Dinh, Noel J. Francisco, and Eileen J. O'Connor; former Reagan lawyers Charles J. Cooper and Joseph E. diGenova; and conservative law professor Michael R. Dimino.”
“Campaign legal advisers often end up in prominent jobs in the Justice Department or White House Counsel's office, so such endorsements can provide clues about the kind of federal judges the candidate would appoint and the legal philosophy that the candidate would embrace as president.”
Romney’s need to crack open the south, which has been resistant to him, may lead Romney to quietly support a number of candidates in the background, hoping one will win. It has become obvious, Romney’s cross country and non-stop endorsing of candidates, is to in the end, reap a vast amount of political endorsements for Romney as he attempts to seize the GOP presidential slot. However, in the S.C. race, Romney’s folks will have to beat out Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer who is backed by Huckabee and Atty. Gen. Henry McMaster whose backer is John McCain.