Mitt Romney 'Considering' 2016 Presidential Run Despite Two Previous Losses
The failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reportedly told donors on Friday that he is considering a third campaign for the White House.
Romney, who ran unsuccessful bids for the presidency in 2008 and 2012, recently played down speculation that he might enter the race for the Republican nomination. Yet at a meeting with around a dozen prospective donors in Manhattan, the former Massachusetts governor signalled that he still wanted to be president and was considering whether to launch another campaign.
Romney’s comments to donors – remarks he would almost certainly have expected would be leaked to the press – were first reported by the Wall Street Journal and later confirmed by other outlets. A Romney spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former national finance co-chairman, who was at the New York meeting, confirmed to the Washington Post that Romney is considering a 2016 run.
“I believe Mitt Romney is too much of a patriot to sit on the sidelines and concede the presidency to Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren when he knows that he can fix the country,” Zwick said. “He traveled the country in 2014, met with voters, met with citizens, and I think at the end of the day he believes he could actually make a difference.”
Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady, is the presumptive Democratic nominee, with polls showing she is highly likely to win her party’s support if she runs. Warren, the Massachusetts senator beloved by left-wingers, is not expected to stand.
According to the Washington rumour-mill, Romney has not been impressed by potential Republican contenders. However, Zwick added: “He won’t make a decision to run for president based on who else is in the race. He will make a decision based on his own desire and his own abilities. He has to decide on his own.”
A Romney candidacy would be likely to upset an already crowded field of probable GOP candidates that includes former Florida’s former governor Jeb Bush and current senator Marco Rubio, New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Kentucky senator Rand Paul.
Bush was the first to formally show his hand, when he announced last month he had “decided to actively explore” a run for the White House, which was previously occupied by both his brother and father, George W Bush and George HW Bush. Signalling his intent early was a shrewd move, enabling Bush to begin cementing support from big-money donors essential for any presidential run.
Bush and Romney are both considered pro-business, moderate Republicans who would compete for financial backers who favour the GOP establishment. Christie, if he runs, will be chasing a similar category of donor.
Romney failed to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. In 2012 he won the backing of the GOP but was defeated by the incumbent Democratic president, Barack Obama.
A Mormon who made millions in private equity, he has been popular among the Republican rank-and-file since his 2012 defeat. He had been rumoured to be taking counsel from close friends about a third candidacy, while publicly batting away most suggestions that he might once again have his eye on the White House.
Romney has repeatedly insisted he has no interest in running again for president, stretching back to the aftermath of his failed 2012 bid. Weeks after he was roundly defeated by Obama, Romney was asked by the New York Times if he would run a third campaign. He replied: “Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.”
He has repeated variations of that message over the last two years, although in August he spurred speculation he may reverse course, telling a radio talk show“circumstances can change”.
Yet just two months ago, Romney, whose father, George, also tried to run for president, appeared to be once again taking an unequivocal stance. “I’m not running, I’m not planning on running and I’ve got nothing new on that story,” he told Fox News.
Romney’s wife, Ann, has long been said to be opposed to her husband attempting a third bid. However, Romney has told supporters he has felt vindicated by developments at home and abroad since the 2012 presidential election.
The Republican’s insistence he would have made a better steward of the economy than Obama has been undermined in recent months by a major uptick in economic growth and employment. But Romney, who was widely mocked by Democrats for identifying identifying Russia as “our No1 geopolitical foe” in 2012, can at least claim some foresight on international affairs.
Pollsters have been unsure whether to include Romney among lists of likely presidential candidates. When his name is among the options offered to Republican voters, Romney consistently leads the pack – although that frontrunner status is partly explained his broad name recognition.
Other Republicans believed to be considering a presidential run include the Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the Texas senator and Tea Party favourite Ted Cruz.