The Romneys of Michigan

Updated
 

By msnbc’s Xuan Thai

Chuck is taking a deep dive this week into Mitt Romney’s Michigan roots – looking at his family, his formative years, and his political philosophy.

Although Mitt Romney made a name for himself in Massachusetts politics, it’s actually in the state of Michigan where his family tried to a create a political dynasty. With the upcoming Michigan Republican Primary on February 28th, the Romney name will have appeared on a state wide ballot in Michigan seven times.  And though the family patriarch, George, was political gold in the state, the Romney name hasn’t had such good fortune since his three terms as the governor of Michigan.

“George was so instrumental in bringing the Republican party out of the wilderness,” said Bill Ballenger, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. 

In 1970, Mitt Romney’s mother Lenore made a run for the U.S. Senate and lost by a landslide. His mother’s failed campaign would leave an impression on young Mitt. During a 1994 debate with Sen. Ted Kennedy,  Romney referred to his mother in a debate when asked about his position on abortion.

“I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country,” said Romney. “I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate.”

But over the years, the Romney name has not fared well in Michigan politics. Nearly 30 years after Lenore’s bid, Mitt’s brother Scott lost a bid for Michigan attorney general in 1998. Scott’s ex-wife Ronna ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate twice in the 1990s.

It would be nearly 40 years after George Romney’s last term as governor before another Romney would win in a state wide contest with Mitt Romney beating John McCain in the 2008 Republican primary.

The Romneys of Michigan

Updated