Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Romney Racks Up Support Campaign Makes Big Gains in Calif

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Romney Racks Up Support Campaign Makes Big Gains in Calif

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO - Mitt Romney trumpeted a flurry of conservative endorsements along with backing Monday from a delegate who belonged to campaign dropout Jon Huntsman as he looks to wrap up the GOP presidential nomination. The former Massachusetts governor highlighted the ongoing primary slog as the conservative chorus behind him grew, along with worry that the drawn-out nomination fight will damage their likely nominee against President Barack Obama.

Campaigning in California, Romney made an appeal to primary voters in a contest still two months away on June 5. "I need you guys to get ready, to organize your effort, to get your friends to vote, to collect some money, to get campaign contributions,"

Romney told employees at medical device maker NuVasive in Southern California. "We've got a ways to go." Romney announced support from Utah Sen. Mike Lee, an early tea party supporter who ousted a longtime incumbent Republican. The GOP presidential front- runner also earned backing from California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the third highest-ranking House Republican, and from Al Cardenas, head of the American Conservative Union.

Huntsman delegate Paul Collins, who ran the former Utah governor's campaign in New Hampshire, also signed on with Romney.

All four urged fellow Republicans to unite behind Romney and save the GOP from more months of a nasty, drawn-out primary. Together, their backing represents an increasing groundswell of conservative support for Romney after his Illinois victory last Tuesday. Lee, in particular, represented a coup for Romney. He was one of the first national tea party voices, and Romney had spent nearly a year personally courting him. He visited Lee's Senate of-fice last June to ask for his support.

While in California, Romney planned five separate fundraisers with deep-pocketed donors over the next two days, largely eschewing traditional campaign events to raise money to pay for the primary campaign against chief challenger Rick Santorum. …

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