WASHINGTON, D.C. (MCT) — Mitt Romney likes to tell people in Michigan he’s one of them — and whether voters see him that way could be crucial in determining his political fate.
Romney, 64, who is in a tense battle for the Republican presidential nomination, grew up in the Detroit area. His father, George, was a popular Michigan governor.
But George Romney left office 43 years ago. And Mitt Romney made his political and business reputation in Massachusetts, rescued the Olympics in Salt Lake City and has homes in New Hampshire, California and elsewhere.
Now, however, Romney is telling voters he’s “a son of Detroit,” and he badly needs the favorite son vote as he fights to win the critical Feb. 28 Michigan primary.
Experts see the local ties as a plus.
“I think it will matter,” said Richard Milliman, George Romney’s former press secretary.
But the links also put enormous pressure on Romney.
“A loss in what could be considered his home state … may be disastrous to his campaign,” said Victoria Mantzopoulos, professor of political science at the University of Detroit Mercy. “The loss of a state that should have been a shoo-in will undoubtedly lead to a loss of campaign momentum and fundraising efforts.”