Can Romney Avoid the Noid in Michigan?

According to the Washington Times, the Republican primary in Michigan next week will be a “do-or-die” moment for Mitt Romney’s campaign. The candidate is polling ahead in the state, where he launched his campaign and where his father was governor. Hoping for a clean victory, Romney recently shifted resources to Michigan from South Carolina and Florida.

And now Romney can boast the support of a major religious-right force in Michigan: Thomas Monaghan, the billionaire founder of Domino’s Pizza, who created or funded groups such as the Ann Arbor PAC, Ave Maria List, and the Thomas More Law Center, along with Ave Maria School of Law, Ave Maria University, and an entire Ave Maria Town in Florida dedicated to his conservative Catholic vision. Previously, Monaghan had backed Sam Brownback, but the far-right senator dropped out of the race in October.

Although Monaghan has relocated his mini-empire to Florida, he may still carry enough influence to counteract Huckabee-backer Gary Glenn, the head of the American Family Association’s state affiliate, who has been an anti-Romney gadfly for over a year. Indeed, Glenn’s e-mail urging Huckabee supporters to mobilize churches all but cedes Catholics to Romney.

Says Monaghan,

As someone who values the importance of faith in one’s life, I recognize in Mitt his deep religious convictions which will serve him well in facing the critical moral issues facing our society. I believe he will stand firm on the pro-life issues and for the traditional family values that our country was founded on and which are so critical to the future of our nation.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Romney, as the head of Bain Capital in 1998, made Monaghan a billionaire when it bought Domino’s.