Help from above for Romney?
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney felt he may have had a little extra help when answering a reporter’s question on one of the most delicate subjects of his campaign — his Mormon faith.
Asked for his view on the influence of religion on the race for the White House after Mormon voters turned out in force in Saturday’s Nevada nomination contest that he won, he replied, “I’ll let other people take a look at those things.”
A loud thunder clap interrupted his next sentence.
“Wow,” he said, looking up. “Maybe HE wants to say something.”
He said exit poll numbers showed that he would have won in Nevada even without Mormon support.
“There will always be some people whose vote will be shaped by the faith of the candidate. I don’t think that is the majority of the people,” he said. “That’s just part of the American experience.”
About 170,000 people in Nevada, or 6.8 percent of its population, are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the formal name of the Mormon religion headquartered in neighboring Utah.
Television networks reported that voter surveys at polls in Nevada showed that Mormons made up 26 percent of those attending Republican caucuses, with 95 percent of them voting for Romney, who won 51 percent of the total Republican vote.
“If not a single Mormon had turned out, Mitt Romney would have still won the caucuses in that state,” said Romney’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom.
– Photo credit: REUTERS/Mark Wallhesier. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at the start of his Florida swing in Jacksonville January 19, 2008, after winning the Nevada primary.
(Corrects spelling of Mormon in 6th paragraph)