Romney seals Republican nomination

2012-05-30 17:43
Washington - Mitt Romney sets off on a California fundraising blitz on Wednesday after sealing the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in November

But his victory on Tuesday in the Texas primary was partially overshadowed by his fundraising appearance in Las Vegas with real estate baron Donald Trump, who continues to push the false allegation that Obama was born outside the United States and is ineligible to hold the presidency.

The former Massachusetts governor's ties to Trump, a boisterous voice in the Republican party, mark the latest example of the hugely wealthy Romney's less than sure-footed run for the presidency.

Romney explains his readiness to accept Trump's financial help by saying he is not required to agree with all the positions held by his backers. Romney contends that Obama is born in the US, despite the claims by Trump and other extreme Republicans.

Funding

The winner of the November election will require the backing of independent voters - those without allegiance to either party - who likely will look askance at Romney's links to Trump.

Romney will continue his push to raise money with fundraisers this week in wealthy California enclaves. He has at least one major fundraising event every day this week.

The campaigns of both Obama and Romney are expected to raise vast sums - perhaps as much as a billion dollars each - in what will be the most lavish spending ever in a US presidential campaign.

That will be compounded by corporate money pouring into independent, so-called super political action committees allied with the campaigns. That source of political support became a reality after a US Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that such political spending by corporate entities and labour unions was guaranteed under the Constitution's free speech provision.

Trump, who remains popular with the Republicans' conservative base, didn't mention the Obama "birther" issue on Tuesday as he introduced Romney and spoke with donors.

"We did it!" Romney proclaimed in a message to supporters after Tuesday's primary win, noting that "it's only the beginning." Republicans won't officially nominate him until late August at the Republican National Convention.

Romney surpassed the 1 144 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination by winning 105 delegates in the Texas primary on Tuesday.

Economy concern

Romney, who came up short in the Republican presidential race four years ago, this time outlasted a carousel of Republican rivals who dropped out during the state-by-state primary contests. None of his former rivals actively campaigned in Texas.

Romney has reached the nomination milestone with a steady message of concern about the US economy, a campaign organization that dwarfed those of his Republican foes and a fundraising operation second only to that of Obama. His campaign rests on the contention that his success as a private equity investor - an endeavour that left him with a fortune estimated at $250m - qualifies him to run the United States government at a time of deep economic uncertainty.

Romney, who would be the first Mormon to be nominated for president by a major party, must now energise conservatives who still doubt him, while persuading undecided voters that he can do a better job fixing the nation's struggling economy.

- AP
Read more on:    mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012
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