Canton Repository

February 7, 2007

Regula backs Romney's bid for president

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON Rep. Ralph Regula on Tuesday jumped on the Mitt Romney band wagon, announcing his support for the former Massachusetts governor in his bid for president.

Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, joined what the Romney campaign describes as a congressional whip team that will rally support for Romney on Capitol Hill.

Romney, 58, a Republican, plans to officially announce his candidacy in his native state of Michigan on Tuesday. His late father, George Romney, served as Michigan governor in the 1960s and made an unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 1968.

Regula was described by his staff as being in meetings all afternoon and was unavailable to discuss his endorsement.

But Romney's spokesman, Kevin Madden, said Regula's support is important because the 18-term congressman is well-respected among House Republicans.

"It gives us a great deal of credibility," he said.

The Romney exploratory committee, currently functioning as the campaign, issued a statement saying congressional supporters "will be powerful voices for our conservative agenda of lower taxes, smaller government, traditional values and a safer America."

The addition of Regula and several other congressmen to the effort brings to 22 the number of House lawmakers endorsing Romney.

Romney now has more endorsements from House Republicans than Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McCain is widely viewed as the GOP front-runner even though some polls show former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with more support among Republican-leaning voters.

Congressional backers of Romney include former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky. Rogers is a member of the House Appropriations Committee who vied with Regula for chairmanship of the committee in 2005. GOP leaders chose Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., as chairman in the three-way contest.

Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La., is heading the Romney effort in the House.

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, has not yet endorsed anyone in the 2008 presidential race.