Romney performs poorly in “Super Veteran” counties

Amber Wade

Data released by the Truman National Security Project shows that in the Republican primaries thus far, candidate Mitt Romney performed worse in counties with high veteran populations (15 percent or greater) compared with the state overall.

In a conference call Thursday afternoon, Congressman Tim Ryan said that he believes part of the reason for this underperformance is largely due to Romney’s failure to be able to connect with the middle class, in addition to what he feels is a misunderstanding of the commitment owed to soldiers who serve the country.

“The country makes a promise to those veterans who are willing to sacrifice, and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the country,” Ryan said. “We make a promise to them and the promise is that if they get hurt, if they have any issues resulting from the war or any other issues that we will, as a country, pay for their healthcare.”

Ryan continued that Romney’s proposal to switch from the VA healthcare system to a voucher system wouldn’t meet the promise to care for soldiers who had served the country.

State Representative Connie Pillich, also a member of the veterans affairs committee, said the voucher proposal, as well as some of Romney’s other actions as Governor of Massachusetts, showed a lack of commitment that contributed to the disconnect and poor performance with veterans.

“He really demonstrated, through his actions, what level he holds veterans [at],” Pillich said. She continued that Ohio moved in an opposite direction from the actions Romney had taken, as she said they’ve worked to increase programs to help veterans in the state.

Army veteran Paul Worley, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he wasn’t surprised by Romney’s underperformance with veterans.

“In combat, you always ask yourself, ‘Who do I want to share a foxhole with? Who do I want on my right and my left? Who am I going to be able to count on when things get tough? ’ and I just don’t think Mitt Romney strikes you as the type of person that you’d want to go to war with,” Worley said.

With Super Tuesday approaching, Romney’s disconnect amongst the middle class and veterans could play a role in the polling.

Contact Amber Wade at [email protected].