How big a deal would it be if Mitt Romney loses his home state of Michigan?
February 14th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

How big a deal would it be if Mitt Romney loses his home state of Michigan?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan. his father, George Romney, was the president of American Motors and later the governor.

Two weeks from today, there's a very real chance Romney could lose the Republican primary in his home state.

Now, it's one thing to lose any of the other 49 states, but it's another thing entirely to lose your home state where your dad was governor.

Michigan is a state especially hard-hit by the recession and chronic unemployment. We came within an eyelash of losing the domestic auto industry, which was born and almost died in Detroit.

So if there's ever a place where a wealthy Republican who seems out-of-touch with the common man might have a problem, it's Michigan - and he's got a problem there.

Polls show Romney trailing Rick Santorum - 33% to 27%.

In an attempt to connect with Michigan voters, Romney is out with an op-ed piece in today's Detroit news. In it, he calls himself a "son of Detroit" and says that American cars "got in my bones early."

He also defends an op-ed piece he wrote back in 2008 called Let Detroit go Bankrupt, in which he suggested managed bankruptcy would have been preferable to a bailout of America's car companies. Maybe so, but without the bailout many of the people Romney is looking for support from today probably wouldn't even be around.

Romney insists things in Detroit got worse after President Obama's intervention. He writes the government should sell off its auto stock - and turn that money over to the taxpayers.

Here’s my question to you: How big a deal would it be if Mitt Romney loses his home state of Michigan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Sylvia in San Diego:
As big a deal as when Ted Kennedy's seat went to a Republican.

Karl in Flint, Michigan:
I guess historically it is psychologically important for a candidate to win his home state, but since no one so far has won the majority of primaries, it's not a real indicator of anything. Also, Mitt was born here, but never held office here like the others have in their home states. I'd say his winning or losing Massachusetts would be more telling then Michigan.

It would mean that people have somehow woken up and asked themselves, "Where did the money go?" He may have been a kid here while we were kids, but now we're adults and he's an adult and he's got money and we don't. I've got the wrinkles, calluses, and fatigue … and he's going to parties every night wearing some pretty nice clothes.

Gigi in Oregon:
I'm more worried if Rick Santorum can win Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania voted him out of the Senate.

Tanner in Arizona:
I think that it would be a big blow to his campaign, but he would be able to recover if he wins Arizona. If he loses both, it will be very hard for him to regain momentum.

Steve in New York:
The liberals are foaming at the mouth to see that happen. It would guarantee Obama's re-election. But I think once Mitt Romney wins the nomination, it's all the way to the White House. Obama is very afraid of Romney.

Ralph in Chicago:
If Romney lost Michigan, it would be like Obama losing Illinois. I live in Chicago, where we vote early and often and at times in alphabetical order. Obama would never lose Chicago or Cook County. In fact, when I die I want to be buried in Cook County so I can stay active in politics.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Auto Industry • Mitt Romney
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Mike S., New Orleans, LA

    It depends on the candidate Jack. If it is Sarah Palin, then no, it isn't possible.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Mel - Houston

    When your party is so devoid of competent idea and qualified candidates anything can happen.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  3. David in Tampa

    For me it is.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  4. Ed from MD

    No and for the same reason RC cola will never make it to the top. That arguement is always Coke vs. Pepsi.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  5. pat in michigan

    Oh you mean Jeb Bush don't you?Sure voters wont have a chance to think rationally . He will look like the messiah next to the bunch running now!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  6. John from Alabama

    Jack: I would like to believe it is possible for an independent candidate to enter the race for president and win, but then I am a realists, also. It cost to much for an independent to raise enough funds to compete in the race. We love our politics simple either Democrat , or Republican, but not Independent.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  7. Bill of New Mexico


    But if Independents continue to grow, an Independent might once again have a chance.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Just another indicator, of the fact he isn't likely to win the primary, much less the general election.

    We are going to have to consider a third party candidate, for certain.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  9. Jenna Roseville CA

    How big a deal would it be if Mitt Romney loses his home state of Michigan?

    It would be HUGE for him to lose the state but I predict that none of the four GOP candidates will have enough delegates to win their party's nomination so I am sure they will ask the Supreme Court to step in a pick a winner.. Romney will be the GOP candidate by hook or crook.

    Roseville CA

    February 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  10. Doug Ericson

    Romney is not going to lose Michigan. Rick Santorem will be a basket case days before the votes are cast in that State. Doug, Pepperell MA.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  11. Richard Texas

    Well if they don't want you in your home state then how can you expect anyone else to want you? These are the people that have seen him preform. For years. They know his history very well and perhaps they see something in him that others do not. If I were Romney I would worry about that. Not being wanted by your own state is like being a man without a country.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  12. tom bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Republican strategists will do a chapter of Romney quotes in the play book titled, "What Not To Say." The first one will be, "Let them go bankrupt."

    February 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |

    I am assuming you mean in the primaries, Jack. If he loses Michigan he might as well start campaigning for a seat in the Senate because that will be about as close as he's gonna get to the White House.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  14. Brad, Portland, OR

    If even his home state doesn't want him to be President, why should the rest of the country?

    February 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  15. jack cafferty

    It will be a very big deal and one so obviously why would anyone even ask?

    February 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  16. ken

    Mitt Romney is beginning to lose momentum and a loss here would be a kick in the pants for him to really get it together if he wants to win the nomination!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Loren

    Michigan is not Romney's home State, it's merely where he was born. As other commentators have noted, Romney thought that the Auto companies should be permitted to go bankrupt, rather than be bailed out by Congress. Given the importance of the auto industry to Michigan, that statement could only be seen as abandonment of any loyalty to the State, so how can it be any longer associated with Romney?

    February 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  18. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    No Big deal. Mitt Romney will simply flip flop and claim Massachusetts as his home state.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  19. Tanner from Arizona

    I think that it would be a big blow to his campaign, but he would be able to recover if he wins Arizona. If he loses both it will be very hard for him to regain momentum. However I think he will win both once he starts campaigning there.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  20. Susan NJ

    If Mitt Romney cannot win his home state how can he win the election? The question in everyone else's mind would be "what's wrong with Mitt that we don't know about?"

    February 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  21. TomInRochNY

    It won't matter all that much. Obama will still win the general election.

    Tom, Rochester, NY

    February 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  22. Sylvia from San Diego

    As big a deal as when Ted Kennedy's seat went to a Republican.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  23. Jim


    Well, Al Gore lost Tennessee in 2000 and it cost him the Oval Office. Still, Santorum doesn't appear to have the money or organization to compete with Romney nationwide, Michigan notwithstanding. It sure would be one more embarrassment for old Mitt, though. The way things are going, Romney will end up winning the nomination of a thoroughly confused, embarrassed, and frustrated GOP. His Problem? In their hearts, they know he's right...and left...and center.

    Reno, Nevada

    February 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  24. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Hmmm. Where is American Motors today? Doesn’t that say enough about the clueless creep who isn’t worried about poor people and likes to fire them?

    But I couldn’t care less. The only real Republican running for president, in this current crop of misanthropes, who actually has the country’s (and my) best interests at heart doesn’t have a snowball’s chance and never will. And that is because he has consistently held sound fiscal and military positions for decades. Three guesses as to who that is.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  25. kim smith, Dodge City, Ks.

    It would be nice to watch him get zero respect from the hard working, and long suffering, people of Michigan. There is an old saying in the auto buisness; "just because you face looks like a hub cap, it doesn't mean you're a big wheel". The bad thing is, Santorum would benefit from Romney being booed out of Detroit, and that is even scarrier to intelligent voters.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  26. Michael DeGrande, MI

    Coming from Michigan, and being in the middle to lower class, I can say that Mitt cannot relate to us in any sense of the word and that it is almost impossible to win one of the states hardest hit by the recession. He basically said 'screw off' to the auto industry, which is the lifeblood of this state. Santorum at least has some middle class roots. He can at least attest to being a family man and having to support his family, before he was a congressman, while having to earn his own money, unlike Mitt who had his father. His father was a good man; he related to other people to some extent. Mitt does not.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  27. Conor in Chicago

    It doesn't matter. He's the nominee. The Republicans are not going to let the Christian Taliban wing of their party destroy their chances at the Presidency. If anything Romney losing Michigan will simply signal how extreme the right wing of the Republican-ville is these days that they would select someone like Santorum over Romney.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  28. Cy Gardner

    A little perspective: George Romney was governor 47 YEARS ago. Rick Santorum lost a statewide election in his native Pennsylvania by 17 points right here in this century. Also, if Mitt's dad were governor of Michigan NOW, it would not erase the memory of Romney's op-ed about letting the auto industry fail. There are myriad reasons formulated in this current century for the public's consistent rejection of Mitt's candidacy. There's no need to drag dads into this. cy from arlington, va

    February 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  29. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    That almost be like a Kennedy losing in Massachusetts and Santa getting banned from the North Pole. Whatever happens Mitt will always have Utah.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  30. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Let's see. Tim Pawlenty (ex-Governor of Minnesota) was Romney's lead man in Minnesota. Romney came in 3rd. That's like Tim Pawlenty losing his home state. Romney calling Michigan his "home state" is like Michelle Bachmann saying she was an Iowan because she was born there.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  31. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    He cant win Michigan, he was anti auto bailout ( a fool). Mark the date of the primary in Michigan- it will signal the start of the attempt to broker the convention as Mitt, loses Rick gains and the Republican party realizes you cant elect Rick.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  32. Lisa in Ga

    Well Jack....the way I see it the Romney is so out of touch... even his hometown realizes it.. oh by the way... the bailout worked in your HOMETOWN Romney just in case you missed it.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  33. Mr D

    I doubt if the "work again" auto workers will vote for Mitt. Oh how four years changes one's tune.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  34. Ardy

    IA native of Michigan here. I remember what George Romney did to this state (or should I say 'didn't do).
    "Like father like son" or "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" fit perfectly. 'Nuff said.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  35. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Obama will win Michigan in the general election so it won't make any difference whether Romney or any other Republican wins or loses in Michigan.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  36. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    It will give momentum to Rick Santorum and the money will flow in to him. He could be the nominee

    February 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  37. Dan in Albuquerque

    It is a big deal. This is territory where he should be pulling much better numbers. It's clear he lacks support among many Republicans.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  38. Gary H. Boyd

    Michigan's loss would be one more reason Romney could not beat Obama. A home-state loss speaks volumes in a national election and Romney cannot afford to incur such an event. The guy's already stumbling around in the bushes with ups and downs here and there so to lose in Michigan would spell disaster if he were to win the nomination.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    February 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  39. Fred Allan in Cleveland, Mississippi

    Jack, in my opinion, if Romney loses Michigan, he will lose any chance he had at being the Republican nominee.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  40. Gigi Oregon

    I'm more worried if Rick Santorum can win Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania voted him out of the Senate.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  41. stan

    reasons for gas prices? Did you forget (1) no drilling for a year and the oil derks moving out of the Gulf. (2) no energy policy except study again. Except for the subway cities The United States operates on gasoline and food. Both have increased with President Obama's action against 'keeping the prices to work and live stable'. It appears even Hillary as a Republican could the election.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  42. Geoffrey

    A very big deal! Romney's competetion consists of a failed former congressman, a fringe candidate so far out of the mainstream that he acknowledges that he will not win, and an ex-senator who lost his last race in a landslide in Pennsylvania, a swing state. If If that is all the Republicans can muster, then they have major problems.
    Geoffrey, Grand Rapids, MI

    February 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  43. Karl in Flint, MI

    Since he has never held office here, the only point of reference is his father and that isn't all that good. No, it won't matter one way or the other. If he loses Massachusetts, that will matter.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  44. andy Lynn, MA

    After the Republicans swore an oath to a lobbyist, made public speeches announcing their intent to make OUR President a failure, I really do not care if they nominate Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Bugs Bunny or Satan. Based upon their performance, I will never vote for a Republican again. Sorry Gipper.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  45. Annie, Atlanta

    It would be a bigger deal if he actually wins MI with his comments about the auto bailout and poor people.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  46. John in Atlanta

    Well, Al Gore lost his home state of Tenn. in 2000, but won the nomination and the Presidency -oh wait.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  47. Jon in Tempe, Arizona

    I believe it would be devastating. It would most likely end his candidacy. The headlines that would come out of there saying that he can not even win his home state would be insurmountable. Santorum would be a shoe in for the Republican nomination at that point. His money though will probably prevail and he will probably win Michigan. Sometimes money can buy love unfortunately.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  48. JJ in Arkansas

    Jack, Romney would undoubtedly lose Michigan in the general election. If he loses the the Michigan Republican primary, it will be a big time sign he's not ready for prime time.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  49. Colleen from Canada

    Give Romney a few more days, and he will write an oped stating that he severly supported a bailout for the auto industry, in order to win over this state. A loss in this state severly cripples his chance to become President. If you cannot even win your own state, how can you express to win the presidency.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  50. Ron Balouville CT

    Jack the American people are finally waking up and smelling what Mitt Romney is shoveling to them... It would destroy his election chances, and that is not a bad thing for America. we do not need a rich incensitive brat runing / ruining America. All he is doing is trying to add another trophy to his mantel by getting elected. ohh yeah forgot to add i think his comment about the poor is god awfull as well!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  51. James S. Miller

    I think it would be a huge slap in the face! But then again, this guy is definitely not presidential material.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  52. Paul from New Jersey

    I do believe an independent candidate would have an excellent chance this year given the general disgust the american public has with both parties being in bed with the special interests. It would require a well intentioned grass routes candidate combined with lots of boots on the ground and appropriate use of the vast social media network avaible. After all Isn't that how the tea party got started (minus the well intentioned part)?

    February 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  53. Mitchell in N.C.

    Mitt needs to do a halftime in America commerical.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  54. E R Gonzales

    When a native son of Michigan gives its populace his back-side response by recommending the dismanteling of the auto industry, it shows how out of touch he is with working people in Michigan.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  55. Roger

    independent voter here Jack, and come the 28th will be voting for Santorum, but come the general election will be voting for Obama. Will do anything to stop the Mitt...

    February 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  56. pat in michigan

    for him a big deal for us here .not so much!

    February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  57. Will from south dakota

    It doesn't matter if he wins Michigan or not because neither Romney or Santorum or Gingrich could even come close to defeating Obama and that's a damned shame. I am so ready for a third party candidate that can campaign on what is right for the country and not pander to the nut jobs that belong to the republican and democrat party. Politics make me vomit.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  58. Doug

    A very big deal. If he loses in Michigan, he will lose the nomination. And, it has nothing to do with his bailout comments. Republicans don't like the auto bailout, even if it helped our state – because it makes Obama look good. Conservatives have turned on Romney. Michigan is his last stand.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  59. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Mitt is not his father. He may have roots in Michigan, but he hasn't had anything to do with it for years, and, let's be honest, is the type of person who would LOVE to see the Auto Workers Union (as well as any other unions) out-lawed. I'm sure he expects to win Michigan on "legacy" alone, but I think (hope) it's a long shot. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  60. Joe Young

    Mr. Cafferty, it will seriously hurt his feelings, I guess. It will also seriously damage his chances of getting the nomination. However, since anyone who is capable of surveying th political landscape dispassionately can see that we will have Mr. Obama for a second term, it is totally irrelevant. Thanks to the Reps for boosting the economy with all of that wasted campaign spending. :o)

    February 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  61. Daniel Hull

    Whether he wins in Michigan or not, it is what happens at the next Presidential Debate before Super Tuesday. If Santorum can knock out Ron Paul, Romney and Gingrich in that Debate it will come down to a two man race Romney and Santorum. Then it will come down to those who thinks their choice of candidate is more electable or the one that is more Conservative. If he does win in Michigan it will be perceived as another election bought by Romney than what he can stand on and earn as Conservative Candidate.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  62. Randall

    He signed his own political suicide note here in Michigan when he consistently and vociferously shouted against the Auto Industry Bail-Out. That saved this state. Living in Lansing, with it's 2 G.M plants that make 7 different vehicles, from Cadillac, Chevy, GMC and Buick. These plants helped save this city. Shame on you MItt Romney.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm |