In a crucial turnaround from a mere year ago when it seemed he unconditionally ruled out a run, on Friday, Mitt Romney told donors he's considering a 2016 presidential run. Politico reported that Romney, at a private function in New York in which a number of about 30 of his former donors were in attendance, announced that he was thinking about running for president — his third campaign, if he actually follows through. Romney said:
Everybody in here can go tell your friends that I’m considering a run.
His announcement signals a potential disruption to the Republican presidential nominee process, as Florida Governor Jeb Bush has been making moves to consolidate support for his expected run. Although there have been rumors that he was mulling a third presidential run, his Friday announcement was a forceful shift from his comments exactly a year ago in a New York Times interview. When asked if he would run again, Romney seemed adamant that he wouldn't, even going so far as to say he would support Bush:
Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. People are always gracious and say, ‘Oh, you should run again.’ I’m not running again. I will say this: It was a great experience...
But look, I want to make sure that we take the country in a different direction. I think that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and the list goes on, have a much better chance of doing that, and so I will support one of them as they become the nominee.
Spencer Zwick, a longtime Romney adviser and fundraiser who organized the meeting, said:
Mitt is considering it because he thinks he can make a difference. 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.
Should Romney and Bush be in competition to be the Republican presidential nominee, they would be contending for the same major donors who favor pro-business candidates in the GOP. Although he didn't mention a deadline for his decision, he cited concerns of international unrest and the economy, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Bobbie Kilberg, a top Virginia donor who raised millions of dollars for Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, told the Washington Post:
What he has said to me before is, "I am preserving my options." What he is now saying is, "I am seriously considering a run." And he said that in a room with 30 people. That is a different degree of intensity.
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