George Romney, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Race, Religion


In 1966, Republican Governor George W. Romney of Michigan was considered by many in his party, and among Democrats, to be a front runner for the 1968 presidential election. By March 1968, however, Romney dropped out of the race due to a lack of popular support. Several factors contributed to his unsuccessful campaign. Foremost was his wavering position on U.S. involvement in Vietnam coupled with his general lack of knowledge of foreign affairs. To a lesser degree, Romney's membership in The Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave him a negative image in the press. Because the Church denied its priesthood to males of African descent, many saw the Church, and consequently Romney, as racist. Many of the articles written about Romney during the mid-196os criticized him not only for his ambiguous position on Vietnam, but also for his association with a church that discriminated against blacks. Though not the determining factor in his failed presidential bid, Romney's association with a seemingly racist church significantly contributed to the negative image that cost him the 1968 election.