After Mitt Romney announced his withdrawal from the race yesterday, God-o-Meter phoned Mark DeMoss, a prominent evangelical PR man and Romney backer who spent most of January traveling with the Romney campaign to various primary states. Like others on the Romney team, DeMoss believes the Mormon factor hurt Romney, but that it was greatly exacerbated because Mike Huckabee gave evangelical voters such an easy alternative. Doesn’t sound like he’s about to sign up for Huck:
I’m disappointed in the number of people supporting Governor Huckabee on the basis of his Christian faith alone. I think that’s an unhealthy proposition, frankly. People actually told me that [as an evangelical], he’s one of our own. He deserves a shot.” I’d ask, “What do you know about his tenure for governor or his position in this or that policy and for many to say, I don’t know any of that, but he stands for Christ….” We don’t apply that standard to anything else in our life, to choosing a doctor or hiring en employee.
If there had not been an evangelical alternative, I think Romney would be the nominee and would probably be president. Because as I talked to people, if they were given a choice between a Mormon and somebody who did not share their views and social issues, or someone who called some evangelicals “agents of intolerance,” or given the choice of Clinton or Obama, 99-and-a-half percent of those people would say I can go for Romney under those circumstances. [Romney’s Mormonism] was a factor, but because there was an evangelical option [Huckabee].