SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- With Republican presidential nominee John McCain trailing in the polls speculation is mounting over whether Mitt Romney will be the GOP's next standard bearer.
The Deseret Morning News reported Tuesday that the former Massachusetts governor, whom McCain vanquished in the primaries and passed over to name Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick, appears to be positioning himself for a White House run in 2012.
Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney has done 20 campaign events for the Republican presidential ticket since April and more than double that for Republican candidates across the country.
Kirk Jowers of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics said Romney is clearly the leading contender for the party's nomination four years from now.
"Republicans are nothing if not predictable," said Jowers, who is now head of Utah Lawyers for McCain. "Republicans have nominated the second-place finisher in every election since 1976, with the exception of our current president."
Jowers said Palin has not "distinguished herself as a competent vice presidential candidate, and that is going to be a heavy anchor to drag into 2012."