Traverse City Record-Eagle

Op-Ed Columns

April 22, 2012

George Weeks: Multiple Romney campaigns

After the successful 1963-69 reign of Gov. George Romney, the family has had mixed electoral success — none at the federal level — and now awaits the outcome of son Mitt Romney's second presidential bid. The Romney runs:

n In November of 1967, George Romney announced as a candidate for president, vowing "to build a new America." He later withdrew, saying he had been "cut to pieces" by media reaction to his comments about the military-diplomatic "brainwashing" he received on a visit to Vietnam.

n In 1970, Lenore Romney, George's wife, was the GOP nominee against 1959-76 Sen. Phil Hart, who won a commanding victory, 1,744,716 to 858,470.

In "Philip Hart: The Conscience of the Senate," published in 1996 by Michigan State University Press, author Michael O'Brien said Hart considered her "out of her league." O'Brien wrote: "She tried to correct her embarrassing misstatements, but her explanations never caught up with her original remarks."

n In 1994, Ronna Romney, ex-wife of George/Lenore Romney son Scott Romney, narrowly lost in the Michigan GOP U.S. Senate primary to former Republican State Chairman Spencer Abraham, getting 48 percent of the vote while Abraham got 52 percent and was elected in November.

n In 1998, Scott Romney, brother of Mitt, announced himself, with the support of Gov. John Engler, as a candidate for the attorney general nomination to be decided by the Republican State Convention.

The nomination went to Grand Rapids-based U.S. Attorney John Smietanka, who then lost to Democrat Jennifer Granholm, first woman to be state attorney general and then, in 2002, first woman elected Michigan's governor.

Engler subsequently appointed Scott Romney to a partial term to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees in August of 2000. He was elected to a full term that year but lost a reelection bid in 2008. (Engler long ago told me that Scott, who with a set jaw looks more like George than does Mitt, was the one to watch.)

n In 2008, Mitt Romney made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination and now is the one the nation watches.

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