Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is being blasted by New Hampshire’s Manchester Union Leader in an editorial on Tuesday for supporting the Nevada GOP’s move to change it’s caucus date to January 14, which will push out New Hampshire as the nation’s first primary. New Hampshire may now have to move it’s primary to December, as a result. The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Irked by Nevada’s gumption, several of the Granite State’s top conservatives are now opening fire on Mr. Romney for tacitly supporting the Nevada move. At least four of his GOP rivals, including Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain, have threatened to boycott the Nevada caucus if it disrupts New Hampshire’s plans.
Nevada now plans to hold its caucus Jan. 14, a move that could force New Hampshire to bump its primary into December. Mr. Romney won the 2008 Nevada caucus by a huge margin, and appears similarly strong there this year.
In interviews Monday with local reporters, New Hampshire’s Republican House speaker and House majority leader both warned that Mr. Romney appears to be taking the state’s voters for granted and should be pushing back against the Nevada move.
GOP sources in Nevada are also telling me that at least three campaign staffers who worked for Romney in 2008 are pushing for same day voter registration during the caucus as well. According to Nevada political sources, Governor Romney already has his plans laid out for when he will be in the state to caucus and the other candidates will not be coming to Nevada to caucus before that date. The New Hampshire Union is reporting that the Romney campaign called former Utah Republican Governor Jon Huntsman’s boycott of the Nevada caucus a “Ploy And Publicity Stunt.” Huntsman’s campaign shot back in a press release from Paul Collins, Huntsman’s New Hampshire Senior Advisor, on Tuesday evening:
“It is clear that Governor Romney’s campaign is not backing away from its efforts to undermine New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation tradition. While I respect Representative Hess, his comments today regarding the Nevada boycott couldn’t be further from the truth. Governor Huntsman has shown leadership by taking a stand for New Hampshire and I’m encouraged that other candidates have followed him by boycotting Nevada’s caucuses. The only ploy at work here is the Romney campaign’s ploy to game the primary system to their benefit. Fortunately, Governor Huntsman is willing to stand up for New Hampshire’s tradition and importance in the primary process.”
Coming from a New England state, Romney risks embarrassment and losing political capitol if he loses the GOP voters in the New Hampshire primary as a result of this caucus gamble out in Nevada.