Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign
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Time Period
11/6/2012
Description
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, became the first member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to run for president as a major party nominee after securing the Republican Party’s nomination in 2012. Romney’s Mormon faith was a large focus in both his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in 2008 and in his second run for the presidency four years later against Barack Obama, although it appeared that Romney seemed to spend less time dwelling on his faith in public in the 2012 election.

Some wonder whether his Mormon faith cost him the 2012 election. Political scientist Benjamin Knoll argues that his religion may have cost him some Republican votes but was not ultimately the decisive factor in the loss. This can be contrasted with the 1928 presidential election, in which Al Smith’s Catholicism was a major factor in the outcome.
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Narrative
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, became the first member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to run for president as a major party nominee after securing the Republican Party’s nomination in 2012. Romney’s Mormon faith played a key role in both his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in 2008 and in his second run for the presidency four years later against Barack Obama.

Romney’s family claimed a long history of LDS membership reaching back to the church’s earliest days. Romney served as a missionary in France, attended Brigham Young University, and served as a bishop and stake leader for Boston’s Mormon community. Much like Al Smith and John F. Kennedy before him, two Catholics who faced public challenges over the role their religion played in their public lives while running for president in 1928 and 1960, respectively, Romney tackled the issue directly in 2007. In a December 6, 2007, speech known as “Faith in America,” which he delivered at the George Bush Presidential Library, Romney argued that religious liberty was of central importance to the country’s founders, and he maintained that religious tests had no place in public service. Romney also remarked that while his faith played a fundamental role in his life, he would not put his church before his obligation to the country’s common good. At the same time, he affirmed, “I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers -- I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience.”

In 2012, a number of commentators noted that Romney seemed to spend less time dwelling on his faith in public. However, there seemed to be a danger that it could negatively affect his campaign in states whose populations were more suspicious of Mormonism. Romney went on to lose the election to future President Barack Obama. Political scientist Benjamin Knoll argues that "Romney very likely did lose some (mostly Republican) votes as a result of negative attitudes toward his Mormon faith." However, Knoll concludes that Romney’s Mormonism "was ultimately not the decisive factor in the outcome of the election." This can be contrasted with the 1928 presidential election, in which Al Smith’s Catholicism was a major factor in the outcome.
Religious Groups
Latter-day Saints Family (Mormonism): Other Timeline Entries

Latter-day Saints Family (Mormonism): Other ARDA Links

Photographs

Mitt Romney presidential campaign- Flikr.com- photo by Gage Skidmore (CC By-SA 2.0)

Mitt Romney portrait- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Gage Skidmore (CC By-SA 3.0)

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan- Flikr.com- photo by monkeyz_uncle (CC BY 2.0)

Mitt Romney speaking- Flikr.com- photo by Gage Skidmore (CC By-SA 2.0)

Mitt Romney and Barak Obama- Wikimedia Commons- White House photo
Source(s)
Halperin, Mark and John Heilemann, 2013. Double Down: Game Change 2012. New York: The Penguin Press.
Knoll, Benjamin, 2013. Did Anti-Mormonism Cost Mitt Romney the 2012 Election?. The Huffington Post.Notes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-knoll/mitt-romney-mormon_b_4121217.html)
Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, 2011. For Romney, a Role of Faith and Authority. The New York Times.Notes: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/us/politics/for-romney-a-role-of-faith-and-authority.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0)
Web Source(s)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16969460
Transcript: Mitt Romney's Faith Speech "Faith in America" December 6, 2007
Web Page Contributor
William S. Cossen
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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