- Reuters/Chris Keane
It is no secret that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finds little favor with the majority of the Tea Party. Despite that fact, Romney still shows little interest in reaching out to the Tea Party members.
“[The fact he has not reached out] says something about him; that will be one of the factors people take into account when they go into the voting booth,” Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots told The Christian Post. Meckler said his group has had no contact with the Romney campaign and his representatives have not reached out.
“It will certainly have an effect on the amount of enthusiasm he will be able to garner if he becomes the [GOP] nominee.”
A Public Policy Polling survey revealed last week that Romney garnered only 13 percent of Tea Party support, ranking him at number four among the other GOP candidates. Meanwhile, businessman Herman Cain raked in 30 percentage points signifying a much greater Tea Party following.
Many of the GOP candidates, mainly Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, have attended major Tea Party rallies in order to create an image that is extremely opposite of President Obama. These appearances are made in the hopes of capitalizing on the voters who feel ostracized by the president’s policies.
However, Romney, who has passed the most Obama-like health care plan in his own state of Massachusetts, seems to have a different strategy to win the White House.
“I think [Romney’s] strategy is explicitly to sort of wait out the primary in the hopes that [he’s] the last man standing,” Matt Kibbe, president of the Tea Party group FreedomWorks, told The Daily Caller.
“And he’s doing it without repudiating Romneycare, and he’s doing it without really changing who he is … fundamentally he’s the establishment candidate, so I don’t think he thinks he needs the grassroots base to win.”
If Romney gets the nomination, the Tea Party will likely “hold their nose and vote for Romney,” Judd Philips, founder of the Tea Party Nation told The Christian Post. According to Philips, the “anybody but Romney” attitude that the Tea Party is touting in the nomination process will fade to an “anybody but Barack Obama” attitude once the nominee is declared.
Therefore, it is likely that Romney can expect to receive votes from the Tea Party if he is the nominee. But that doesn’t mean the Tea Partiers will enthusiastically support him.
Columnist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan told Newsmax that he believes it is important for Romney to get the Tea Party backing. Otherwise, he says that the nomination of an established candidate who inspired the Obama’s health care plan could prompt the Tea Party movement to form a third party.
“They’ve got reason for that feeling and that sentiment but if they do that, if, for example … they persuaded Ron Paul to run on a third party ticket, Barack Obama would be easily re-elected,” he warned.
He said he can see a third party candidate emerging in 2012 if Romney gets the nomination.