Mitt Romney’s ‘Appalachian Problem’?

Oh boy, here we go again. Another election year and another candidate who can’t seem to ‘connect’ with the country’s most elusive voting block. From the desk of CNN in the wake of Super Tuesday:

Romney has an Appalachia problem:

Romney, a Harvard-educated millionaire, had his first test among Appalachian voters this election cycle and he did not get a passing grade.

In the hilly counties along the Ohio River in eastern Tennessee and in north Georgia — culturally conservative locales where another Harvard grad named Barack Obama was viewed with deep skepticism in 2008 — Romney lost badly to Santorum, and in some spots, to Gingrich. Some of those counties are economically vibrant while many more are not.

The only stretch of Appalachian territory Romney won on Tuesday was in southwest Virginia where his only competition was Ron Paul, who beat Romney in a handful of counties in that area.

John Ryder, a Republican National Committee member from Tennessee, described Appalachian voters as “populist” or “Jacksonian.”

“You are talking about people for whom the substance of Romney’s message ought to have strong appeal in terms of dealing with jobs, but the rhetoric of this message is not working for him with this bloc of voters,” Ryder said. “It’s an issue he will have to address.”

Comments are closed.