Won't You Be My Neighbor?
You may have caught the spate of news coverage detailing Mitt Romney’s recent residential reshuffling. Romney is selling his residences in Massachusetts and Utah, while keeping his Lake Winnipesaukee retreat in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire and a newly purchased home just outside of San Diego in La Jolla, California. Not surprisingly, all of this real estate activity has political observers wondering whether Romney is planning to declare New Hampshire residency, thereby setting himself up for a favorite son run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
I don’t want to overstate the strategic benefit of Romney moving from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, but it is true the switch could provide him with some new opportunities to nurture grassroots support and quietly lay the organizational groundwork for the state’s leadoff primary in 2012, should he desire to do so. We could even see him become more actively involved in campaigning for local Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm elections; of note, Romney recently registered his Free and Strong America PAC here.
That said I’m not sure how much added political value Romney really gets from spending more time at the lake. It feels like he already played the favorite son card up here during the last presidential primary cycle. I recall that Romney was in-state constantly during 2007 and 2008, and pictures of the Romney family at the Wolfeboro retreat were a staple in the media. By comparison, just having John McCain finally out of the way in the Granite State may do more to improve Romney’s chances of winning the New Hampshire Primary than no longer needing to drive up from Massachusetts. On the other hand, if Romney is simply adopting the snowbird lifestyle like many people in their 60s do, then Wolfeboro and La Jolla are a pretty sweet way to go (while you ponder your political future).

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