ROMNEY FOR SENATE?…. Whether Massachusetts law is changed or not, the state will host a special election in January to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Edward Kennedy. It’s likely that Massachusetts will elect a Democrat, but it’s also likely that Republicans will at least field a candidate.
And who might that candidate be? U.S. News‘ Peter Roff has a former one-term governor in mind.
Surprisingly enough, this brings things back full circle to [Mitt] Romney, who up to now has been busy laying the groundwork for another presidential bid in 2012. It would be an intriguing thing if, after waiting a day or two out of respect for the late senator, Romney were to downshift and announce he will be a candidate in the upcoming election to fill Kennedy’s vacant Senate seat.
Such an announcement would likely be embraced immediately by the Republicans, who would like almost nothing more than to deny Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada his new, hard-won, 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority. As a self-funding candidate who has already been elected once statewide, Romney has nearly 100 percent name ID. And, in an environment where President Obama seems to be dragging the Democrats down, he would be a serious threat to the Democratic hegemony in Massachusetts’s congressional delegation. Meaning Romney likely would win.
In Roff’s fantasy scenario, Romney could serve a couple of years, dazzle Republicans with his ideas, and then parlay his Senate service into the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. It’s not just Roff — National Review‘s Lisa Schiffren likes the idea, too.
This is certainly an … what’s the word … imaginative proposal. But I don’t think it’s especially realistic.
First, Romney ran for governor in Massachusetts as a center-left, pro-choice, tolerant New England Republican. He left office after just one term as a conservative with an approval rating in the 30s. Which version of Romney would run for Kennedy’s seat? He couldn’t run to the right; he’d lose. He couldn’t run to the left; it would ruin his presidential ambitions.
Second, Roff may have missed it, but while President Obama’s approval ratings aren’t as strong as they were, he maintains a 73% approval rating in Massachusetts. It doesn’t look as if the Bay State would be anxious to replace Ted Kennedy with a harsh, reflexive opponent of the White House.
And third, by all appearances, Mitt Romney isn’t actually a resident of Massachusetts.
Other than these minor details, though, it’s a great idea. Run, Mittster, run.