Matthew Richer wrote recently that
Romney won the 2002 Governor’s race in Massachusetts largely because he piggy-backed on one of Ron Unz’s anti-bilingual education initiatives, which carried overwhelmingly as usual. (cf. California governor Peter Wilson’s come-from-behind re-election in 1994, piggy-backing on Prop 187). This took a certain nerve, because the initiative was, as usual, opposed by the entire Massachusetts political Establishment.
In The American Conservative today, Ron Unz has an article about that campaign:How I Made Mitt
With Mitt Romney now the de facto Republican presidential nominee, I sometimes recall how I inadvertently launched his political career a decade ago, which is less implausible than it might sound.
Unlike the vast majority of previous major-party presidential candidates, Romney has a remarkably slender record of election victories, having previously won just a single race, his 2002 election as governor of Massachusetts.
In 1994, he had taken a break from his long and highly successful career in private equity to challenge Sen. Edward Kennedy’s reelection. Although he then positioned himself as a very liberal Republican and even attempted to outflank Kennedy to the left on some issues, Massachusetts was a heavily Democratic state and Kennedy was its leading political icon. Romney suffered a landslide defeat, losing by 17 points to his famous opponent despite a huge national Republican tide.[More]
Read the whole thing. Important point–Romney`s positions were more or less identical to those of his Democratic opponent, except for his support for an end to bilingual education. And he had to be forced into supporting that. Richer went on to say that
ut the personal experience of the electoral power of the National Question seems to have left little impression on Romney. He clearly does not really care about or even understand the Official English issue—Rick Santorum was easily able to skewer Romney’s unprincipled betrayal of it in this year’s Puerto Rico primary.
Unz concludes his article by saying
Then, on Election Day, our measure won by over 32 points, perhaps the largest landslide of any contested initiative in modern Massachusetts history, while Romney scraped across the finish line with 49.8 percent of the vote. And that’s how Romney won his first and only election victory.