Dylan Martinez / Reuters, file
Simon Nash, his wife Maria and their daughter Sarah pose inside their home in Preston, northern England, on September 24.
LONDON - A distant relative of Mitt Romney in England found himself cheering for the GOP candidate on election night – despite disagreeing with him politically.
Simon Nash, known as the “Deepdale Duck” in his role as mascot for Lancashire-based professional soccer team Preston North End, discovered that his 32-year-old wife Maria is Romney’s fourth cousin twice removed as he researched their family history.
While she and their 13-year-old daughter Sarah were largely uninterested in the U.S. election, Nash stayed up until Barack Obama was declared the winner by NBC News.
As he listened to the coverage, he found himself rooting for Romney.
“In the end I wanted him to win … for the novelty value, so I could go around boasting my missus (wife) is cousin to the president,” he said.
“I only discovered I was supporting Romney in the middle of the night. I think when it was starting to look like Obama was going to win it, I wanted our man to win then, but it was too late,” he added.
Nash admitted he didn’t think much of Romney’s policies.
“I think he’s sort of a dinosaur … a bit prehistoric,” he said, referring to Romney’s tax-cutting pitch to the electorate.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney gives his concession speech Tuesday after President Barack Obama was declared the winner of the 2012 presidential race.
“He has no feeling for the normal man in the street. I think he’s that far removed from if you like the average Joe. I think it would have been horrendous (if Romney had won),” Nash added.
His wife Maria, who told NBC News Tuesday she was feeling unwell, was still sleeping early Wednesday.
Simon Nash told NBC News he had woken her at 6 a.m. local time with the news of the result.
“Oh right, OK,” Nash said his wife told him before she went back to sleep. “That’s how excited she was – or wasn’t.”
Watch the drama of election night quickly unfold in a three minutes montage of sights and sounds.
On Tuesday, Maria Nash said she had been “quite surprised to be honest” to discover they were related to Romney.
She stressed she was “not sure” about the election race, but said of Romney “I don’t think he’d make a great president” while Obama “seems all right.”
Mexican cousins mourn defeat
However, Romney’s Mexican cousins mourned his election defeat as a lost opportunity to pull the U.S. economy out of the doldrums. They had high hopes their clan's most famous son would win the keys to the White House, create jobs and boost trade.
"I'm just feeling very, very sad," Virginia Romney -- born on the same day as Romney in 1947, and is married to his Mexican second cousin Kent -- told Reuters.
In his public life, Mitt Romney has said and written little about his ancestors' history in Mexico. It's a little-known fact that there's a whole branch of Mitt Romney's family living south of the border, including his second cousin Leighton Romney, and about 40 other relatives descended from religious pioneers who first traveled to Mexico 125 years ago. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.
"Just to let him slip away from being president of the United States is a real tragedy for the U.S. because he could have given the country so much," the 65-year-old added. "He has been such a success in everything he has done."
The family's Mexican roots go back to Mitt Romney's great-grandfather Miles P. Romney, who crossed south of the border in the 1880s, like other early Mormon settlers in Mexico fleeing U.S. marshals who were seeking to arrest him for practicing polygamy.
Leighton Romney, another of Romney's second cousins in Chihuahua, told Reuters the Republican's hopes had been buried because his party had failed to connect with voters on issues like immigration and foreign policy.
"As poorly as the economy is doing and as bad a record as Obama has, in some way the Republicans weren't able to take advantage of it," the 53-year-old businessman added. "Mitt ran a good campaign. And he did a lot for his party."
Reuters contributed to this report.
More election coverage from NBCNews.com:
- Obama wins re-election; Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin prove pivotal
- Democrats retain control of Senate with series of hard-fought wins
- Rape remarks sink two Republican Senate hopefuls
- In costliest-ever Senate race, Warren beats Brown for Mass. seat
- Maine's Harley-riding King vowed to 'shake up' D.C.
- Republicans easily maintain control of House
- Colorado, Washington approve recreational marijuana use
- Pence in as governor of Indiana; Hassan wins in N.H.
- Majority of voters see American on wrong track