New Hampshire Republicans want Romney to join Nevada boycott

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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New Hampshire Republicans are pressuring Mitt Romney to join the boycott of Nevada’s caucuses in deference to New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status, WMUR reports.

Romney, who is the front-runner in both states, has thus far declined to join the boycott.

Last week, Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams told The Daily Caller that “Governor Romney is committed to preserving New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and the critical role it plays in selecting our Republican nominee,” but that “Governor Romney is also competing in every other nominating contest across the country — whenever they are scheduled.”

WMUR reports that several prominent New Hampshire Republicans, including some Romney supporters, have called for the former Massachusetts governor to join the boycott. Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have already pledged to do so.

“I think he may be taking New Hampshire voters for granted, and I don’t think he ought to do that,” Bill O’Brien, New Hampshire House Speaker, told WMUR.

Several other Republicans joined the call, including House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt, who supports Romney, and Ted Gatsas, Mayor of Manchester.

“I would hope all the candidates that are here would ignore the Nevada primary, including that debate that’s tomorrow,” Gatsas said. (RELATED: Gingrich, 3 others threaten to boycott Nevada caucus)

O’Brien expressed concern that Romney was taking his perceived status as the front-runner in the state for granted.

“I talk to voters who are very, very concerned about New Hampshire maintaining its primary,” he told WMUR. “They wouldn’t take very kindly to a front-runner who says, ‘No, I’ve got you locked up, so I’m going to try and get an advantage in another state.'”

It has been suggested that Romney, who opened his Nevada campaign headquarters Monday, lobbied for Nevada to move its caucuses so that he could use a win there to build momentum coming out of New Hampshire and heading into South Carolina and Florida.

Romney’s campaign has denied that this is the case.

Rick Perry and Ron Paul have also declined to boycott the Nevada caucuses. All the candidates will participate in a debate Tuesday in Las Vegas, except for Huntsman, who will not attend as part of his boycott.

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