In the early going, before the entrance of Fred Thompson and the rise of Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney set out to be the preferred candidate of the Religious Right. And he was well positioned to do so, since Rudy Giuliani and John McCain were (and are) widely reviled by the Religious Right establishment and their supporters.
Back then, Romney was hard at work meeting with Jerry Falwell and others, hobnobbing with right-wing leaders at their events, and buying victories in conservative straw polls. But then Fred Thompson appeared on the scene and began siphoning off potential right-wing supporters while Mike Huckabee staked his claim as the most religious candidate in the field on his way to winning the support of a wide-range of Religious Right leaders.
Through it all, Romney plodded along, picking up a handful of right-wing backer here and there, but the pickings were slim. But now, with Thompson out of the race, it looks like things might be turning around for his campaign:
Joining Romney for President after having served as National Co-Chair of Lawyers for Fred Thompson, Victoria Toensing said, “Appointing strong judges is one of our President’s most important responsibilities. The next President will make a number of appointments, and I am confident Governor Romney will nominate judges in the mold of President Bush’s nominees, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. I am proud to work with Governor Romney and this outstanding group of legal minds.”
Also joining the Advisory committee from Lawyers for Fred Thompson are Lizette D. Benedi, Rachel L. Brand, Reginald Brown, Charles J. Cooper, Joseph E. diGenova, Michael R. Dimino, Viet D. Dinh, Noel J. Francisco and Eileen J. O’Connor.
Dennis Baxley, David Caton, Carole Griffin and Anthony Verdugo, representing over fifty years of combined pro-family leadership in Florida, support Mitt Romney in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary.
Mitt Romney is clearly the most conservative candidate among the top three competitive candidates (Giuliani, McCain, Romney) appearing on the Florida Presidential Preference ballot in Florida.
Dennis Baxley is the incoming Executive Director for Christian Coalition of Florida and former Florida State Representative for District 24.
David Caton is the Executive Director of Florida Family Association.
Carole Griffin is a pro-family lobbyist in Tallahassee and heads the Eagle Forum in Florida.
Anthony Verdugo is the president of Christian Family Coalition.
So, with the field thinning, things are starting to look up for Romney, at least as far as being the Republican candidate most willing and able to pander to the Right is concerned.