A senior adviser to the Mitt Romney campaign said he didn’t consider the Feb. 28 Michigan primary to be a “must-win” for the former Massachusetts governor.
Romney, who was raised in Michigan and whose father was once governor of the state, has fallen behind Rick Santorum in most of the polls there. Many conservatives are predicting chaos in the GOP nomination process if Romney can’t close the deal in his home state.
“Four years ago we won all three of three of those states [Michigan, Utah and Massachusetts]. Is any one of them a must-win for Mitt Romney? No,” Fehrnstrom said.
“I think the must-do for any candidate running for president is achieving the 1,145 delegates. That’s what’s going to secure the nomination, and it’s a long process and as of right now we have a nearly three to one lead over our closest rival in terms of delegates,” he added.
Fehrnstrom also jabbed at the idea that Michigan is Romney’s true home state. Romney’s strongest primary performance to date came in New Hampshire, which he won by more than 16 points, and which borders Massachusetts.
“Mitt Romney has connections to three states,” Fehrnstrom said. “Massachusetts, where he raised a family and started a business, Michigan, of course, where he spent the first 18 years of his life and his dad was the governor, and Utah, where he ran the Olympics back in 2002.”
According to a Public Policy Poll released on Monday, Santorum leads Romney by four points in Michigan, although the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Santorum with a six-point lead.
Fehrnstrom argued that this was not an insurmountable margin.
“We think we’re going to win Michigan,” he continued. “If you go back four years ago Mitt went into that contest in Michigan trailing John McCain. He eventually won it by nine points.”