Sept. 24, 2012
In order for Republican presidential nomineeto win the presidency, he may have to do something no presidential candidate has accomplished since James Knox Polk, a Democrat, managed to do it in 1844.
Despite losing his home state of Tennessee and his birth state of North Carolina, Polk won the General Election over Henry Clay, a Whig, and went on to serve as the 11th president of the United States from 1845 to 1849.
Romney was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947, and governed the state of Massachusetts for four years, from January of 2003 to January of 2007. He did not seek re-election. In November of 2006, his approval rating stood at 34 percent.
Romney is registered to vote in Belmont, Mass. A recent Rasmussen poll shows President Obama with a 12-point lead in Michigan, and an average of recent polls show Obama leading Romney by nearly 20 points in Massachusetts, the only state where the GOP challenger has ever held elective office.
A lot of things have changed since 1844, obviously, but there is one huge difference between Polk and Romney: Polk did not campaign for the presidency and was selected as a “dark horse” candidate at the Democratic Party convention in Baltimore that May after eight rounds of balloting failed to produce a nominee.
Polk had hoped to be the vice presidential candidate, but when delegates could not deliver the requisite two-thirds support to former President, the eighth U.S. chief executive, Van Buren dropped out and threw his support to Polk.
Romney began seeking the presidency in 2007, even before his term as Massachusetts governor ended and, ironically, before then-U.S. Sen. announced his plans to run for president. Obama didn’t declare his presidential intentions until February of 2007.
Polk learned of his nomination by letter, according to Wikipedia: When advised of his nomination via letter, Polk replied: “It has been well observed that the office of President of the United States should neither be sought nor declined. I have never sought it, nor should I feel at liberty to decline it, if conferred upon me by the voluntary suffrages of my fellow citizens.”
It is also worth noting that in addition to defeating Clay in 1844, Polk would have faced competition from the very first Mormon, Joseph Smith, had Smith not been shot to death by an angry mob.
Romney is the first Mormon to be a major party nominee for president.
Smith, then mayor of Nauvoo, Ill., ran for president in 1844. According to a 2007 ABC News report, “Smith directly pushed what he called ‘theodemocracy,’ the blending of religious belief and democracy."
Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were shot to death by an angry mob as they were jailed in Carthage, Ill., in June of 1844 on charges of ordering a newspaper’s facilities to be destroyed after it printed its first issue, which, according to Wikipedia, was highly critical of Smith.
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.
SOURCES & RESOURCES:
The first Mormon presidential candidate, ABC News, Dec. 6, 2007
Follow PundittyProject on Twitter