When it comes to endorsements, the jury’s out on how important they are. But one thing’s for sure; it doesn’t do a campaign any good to get an endorsement, and then lose it. In the past, Mitt Romney’s campaign has had some problems holding onto endorsements. For example, in Michigan there were a few instances of attrition. FOX News reported last month that:
“The group of state lawmakers, which had pledged to support Romney in 2008, will announce at a press conference in Lansing that they've switched their support from Romney to McCain.”
"Three-term state Rep. Judy Emmons said she backed Romney on the word of former House Speaker Craig DeRochem, who will be introducing Romney at the Dearborn event. But Emmons told FOX News on Monday that after researching the candidates on her own, she came to view McCain as the better choice."
Of course, when you are dealing with numerous endorsements, it is understandable that there would be some attrition. More concerning to me, however, are the Michigan folks who are listed as Romney supporters on his website, but told me they have not officially endorsed Romney:
Jack Waldvogel (who is listed on Romney’s website under the label: Michigan Republican County Chairs Endorsing Governor Romney) told me:
“I like Mitt Romney, but I did not authorize them to use my name in an endorsement … they did use my name in an endorsement ad. I had not authorized that ... "
He later added:
"I hope that somebody just picked up the wrong list and assumed that it was an endorsement list.”
Another Michigan Chairman, Joel Westrom, emailed me:
“My name should not have been listed. I’ve been working with the Romney team and the First District and there was a misunderstanding about my support. As Chairman for the District, I’m neutral in the Presidential race.”
I asked Romney’s Michigan Grassroots Chairman Gerry Mason about this. According to Mason:
“We do not want anybody on our list who is not supporting Mitt. Anyone on that list has been contacted two or three times. At this point in the game, the last thing we need to do is to list somebody by accident.”
Mason also noted that there recently was a contentious convention fight, and that several of the folks who previously came out for Romney are now being pressured to stay out of the race.
Regardless of whether Romney's team is exaggerating supporters, mistakenly including non-supporters on his website, or losing endorsements due to pressure from opposing campaigns – it is clear that Michigan will be a battleground for the GOP nomination.