Mitt Romney told a group of his supporters on Friday afternoon that he would not seek the Republican Party nomination for president in 2016. His announcement today brings to a climax the speculation on whether or not the former governor of Massachusetts would seek a third bid for the nomination. But why did Governor Romney feel obligated to make it clear at this early stage to voters that he was not going to seek the nomination?
He might have decided it’s better to end speculation now so other candidates such as Jeb Bush could gain more momentum. According to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll released this week, Mitt Romney was leading in polling for potential GOP candidates. When Republicans were asked who they wanted their party to nominate Romney finished first among 18 different names mentioned. The USA Today/Suffolk University Poll asked the open-ended question to GOP voters and the top 2 responses were Mitt Romney at 16% and Jeb Bush right behind him at 14%.
Another reason Mr. Romney may have felt the need to bow out early was he may have been having difficulty getting key operatives and large donors to back him a third time. Especially when Governor Jeb Bush is mulling over a bid for the nomination and the field of prospects for the 2016 Republican nomination is so vast when contrasted to the potential candidates running for the Democratic nomination.
A week ago on January 23, Governor Mitt Romney and Governor Jeb Bush had arranged a private meeting in Utah. At the time of that meeting, both men were being considered as viable candidates all but certain to run in 2016. According to Fox News, a senior Bush advisor last week described the rendezvous as simply a “long-scheduled meeting” and only elaborated that the two men wanted a chance to catch up with one another.
Additionally on Thursday, David Kochel, a Republican strategist based in Iowa who worked on both of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns, joined Jeb Bush’s political action committee as a senior strategist and may serve as Mr. Bush’s national campaign manager.
In hindsight, it seems the shift of David Kochel going to Jeb Bush yesterday and the private meeting last week between the two governors should have brought more insight to political insiders about what exactly Mr. Romney was announcing on Friday.
Governor Jeb Bush responded to Mr. Romney’s announcement on Twitter and Facebook. Bush offered high praises to Romney’s service to his party and his country stating (in part) on Facebook:
Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.
Columba and I wish Mitt, Ann and their entire family the very best.
The field for who might seek the GOP nomination next year got a little more narrow with Romney removing his name from the hat but with Governor Jeb Bush setting plans into motion for a bid at the presidency and a recent poll showing Mr. Bush ahead of other potential GOP candidates this move by Romney could very well be helping clear a path for Governor Bush to emerge as the clear front-runner.