KENNEWICK — Tri-Citians will get a chance to learn more about Mitt Romney's presidential campaign during an event today with Josh Romney at The Country Gentleman in Kennewick.
Josh Romney, of Salt Lake City, is Mitt Romney's third son and has stood in for him at dozens of campaign events, according to the Romney campaign.
He plans to meet the public and answer questions about his father's campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination starting at 9 a.m., and also will talk about the upcoming caucuses, said Dave Hedengren, Fourth Congressional District co-chairman for the Romney campaign.
Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, emerged as the Republican front-runner after early victories in initial primaries and caucuses, but since has been upset by Rick Santorum's wins in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado, giving Santorum the current edge in political polls attempting to predict who will take the presidential nomination at the national GOP convention in August.
Mitt Romney plans to visit the state March 1, but Hedengren didn't know if any whistle stops will be in Eastern Washington.
On Friday, the Tri-Cities played host to Republican candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Santorum visited Western Washington about a week ago.
Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, is listed among state officials endorsing Romney for president, and said he continues to support Romney although he was impressed with Santorum after hearing him speak last week.
"I think mainly we need a president with business sense and who has common sense, and that is what I'm looking for in a president -- somebody who has some real world experience," Haler said.
Haler said that he is disappointed he won't be able to come from Olympia, where the Legislature is more than halfway through a 60-day session, to see Josh Romney in the Tri-Cities, but hopes Mitt Romney will visit with the Republican caucus in the Legislature when he comes to the state next month.
Hedengren said as that as he has watched Republican debates, he has been impressed with Mitt Romney's pragmatism and vision for how to make the country and its government successful.
He also noted that as Massachusetts governor, Romney was a Republican leader in a largely Democratic state.
"He was able to work with them and get some things done," Hedengren said. "He has a balanced, practical approach to solving problems. I am impressed with his integrity. He's just a good person with solid moral character."
Hedengren said that he is supporting Romney because of an association with the family that goes back to when George Romney -- Mitt Romney's father -- was governor of Michigan.
"I was very much impressed with how he ran the state," said Hedengren, who lives in Richland. "He was very respected in the state. As I look at Mitt, I see a lot of similar characteristics I saw in his father."
Hedengren said that he is asking for the campaign to include an Eastern Washington stop March 1, but he hopes Romney supporters will turn out at the March 3 caucuses.
The Country Gentleman Restaurant is at 9221 W. Clearwater Ave.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org