Pinned to the Iowa flatlands by bass playing southern evangelist Mike Huckabee in last week’s caucus despite outspending his rival 9-1, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney hopes to do better in New Hampshire on Tuesday, and helping him in that effort is state Sen. Joe Kyrillos.
The N.J. state chair of Romney’s campaign, Kyrillos led a 15-person GOTV delegation to the Granite State this weekend to try to forge a Romney victory, solemnly aware of Iowa but not hamstrung by it, the senator insists.
"First of all, half of the Republican delegates in Iowa are evangelicals," said Kyrillos. "Ronald Reagan didn’t win Iowa. Neither did George Bush and Bill Clinton."
But post Iowa, Romney’s lead in his neighboring state of New Hampshire has disappeared. Sen. John McCain is now in first place in New Hampshire with 33%, according to a new CNN/WMUR-TV poll. Romney comes next at 27% and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani stands in third at 14%.
"This is a very close race," said Romney. "One way or the other, only the candidate who is well-organized in the early states is going to have a shot in the end – and that’s Mitt."
After New Hampshire, Republicans will head to Michigan for that state’s Jan. 15th primary, and Kyrillos is confident his candidate will be able to compete there, and likely win.
"That’s the state where Mitt grew up, and where his father was governor," Kyrillos said of the lake country stronghold where 30 delegates are at stake.
Kyrillos said he was due back in New Jersey on Sunday. His delegation includes Sal Risalzato, Dick Kamin, Brian Nelson, Jeff Morris, and Dan Santanello.
On January 12th, the Middlesex County Republican Organization will hold its Presidential Preference Convention at 10 a.m. at the Forge Inn in Woodbridge.
"All registered Republican voters in Middlesex County, who preregister for the convention, are eligible to attend as a delegate and vote for the candidate they prefer to be the Republican nominee for president of the United States," Kyrillos wrote in a message posted on NJ for Romney. "If you are a registered Republican voter in Middlesex County, I strongly encourage you to come out to support Governor Romney."