While presidential candidate Mitt Romney suffered a setback this week with three Republican primary losses to Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), his Michigan campaign still thinks he has the best chance to win in November.
State Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said the Massachussetts Republican and Michigan native has "the best electability" of the remaining GOP candidates, and is the only candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama.
Richardville spoke Friday during a strategic meeting with fellow Romney supporters and area Republicans at in Canton.
Richardville, who supported John McCain in the 2008 primary election, said he became a fan of Romney during a meeting following his primary loss, in which Richardson saw "the fire in (Romney's) eyes."
Niece thinks Romney can beat Obama
Ronna Romney McDaniel of Northville, Romney's niece, acknowledged the primary will be tough, but said if her uncle can win the Michigan primary, the support could carry over to the national election.
"Mitt is the only person who can stop Obama," McDaniel said. "Michigan will be in play if Mitt wins."
Campaign to step up efforts in Michigan
Rob Macomber, Romney's state director in Michigan, said the candidate's campaign will have an increased presence in Michigan, with a call center opening in Livonia next week and visits to the state tenatively planned, including Grand Rapids on Feb. 15 and Monroe County and Farmington on Feb. 16. Macomber said the election night party likely will be held in Troy.
Macomber urged the local supporters to participate in the campaign's call program, where they dial other registered primary voters to persuade them to vote for Romney and encourage early absentee voting.
The hope is, Macomber said, to slow Santorum's recent momentum and hold off Newt Gingrich.
"Santorum has made it known in the media that he's taking Michigan very seriously," Macomber said.
While Romney holds a double-digit lead over Gingrich and Santorum in Michigan polls, Macomber said that lead could shrink as Feb. 28 approaches.
"The race will tighten," he said.