This weekend, the AP is calling Gov. Romney “perhaps the top alternative” to John McCain in 2008. And it is also lauding the results of the straw poll in Memphis, where many evangelicals turned out for our man. Check it out:
The conclusion of the gubernatorial race in Massachusetts and midterm elections across the country will end one campaign but ignite another, and Gov. Mitt Romney is primed to step back into the state spotlight and onto the national stage as well.
Come Tuesday, the Massachusetts Republican will, for all intents and purposes, complete his yearlong stint as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and come home to wrap up his term as governor. He’s already announced he will make his final judicial appointments Wednesday.
Shortly after Romney leaves office in January, he’s likely to announce he will run for president in 2008, based on the governor’s own publicly stated timetable and private conversations in recent weeks with some of his top advisers.
And the outlines of a White House campaign are already visible.
Over the course of the past year, through his own work and the misfortune of others, Romney has emerged as perhaps the top alternative to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the leader in early polling assessing potential 2008 Republican presidential contenders.
One potential rival, Sen. George Allen, R-Va., is fighting just to win re-election next week, while another, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, was outpaced by Romney last spring during a straw poll among evangelicals meeting in Frist’s home state of Tennessee.
Read the whole thing.