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GOP governors see Mitt Romney as one of their own, but hesitate to endorse him

Just eight of the 29 Republican governors have endorsed Romney, and while he’s one of their own – a former state chief executive – there are good reasons to hold back, including the GOP’s divisive nominating campaign.

By Staff writer / February 26, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney poses with professional wrestler John Cena before the NASCAR Daytona 500 Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 26.

Chris Graythen/AP

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Going into Tuesday’s critical primary elections in Arizona and Michigan, Mitt Romney is getting help from Republican governors.

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On Sunday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was the latest to endorse Romney, joining Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman.

"I think he's the man that can carry the day," Gov. Brewer said on NBC's "Meet The Press" Sunday. “Mitt is by far the person that can go in and win."

Still, just eight of the 29 Republican governors have endorsed Romney, and while he’s one of their own – a former state chief executive, even though he plays down his time as the then-moderate governor of liberal Massachusetts – there are good reasons to hold back.

If their state hasn’t yet held its primary election or caucuses, they might not want to get out ahead of their own electorate.

More serious for their party’s future, many of them are worried about the GOP’s divisive nominating campaign. And like a lot of Republican insiders and activists, they yearn for a candidate without Romney’s faults – his rich-guy persona, his odd rhetorical meanderings, and the shop-worn image of one who’s been running for the White House for six years.

"I think some people look at him as a CEO," Gov. McDonnell told reporters at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, according to the Los Angeles Times. "People right now want to have somebody that truly just feels their pain and empathizes with what they're going through in this horrible, horrible economy."

Of his enormous personal wealth – his foreign investment accounts, his initial reluctance to reveal his tax returns, his wife’s “couple of Cadillacs” – Romney says simply, “That’s just the way it is.”

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