Mitt Romney will not seek a third bid to run for the White House in 2016, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate told supporters in a call Friday.
“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Mitt Romney said, according to a transcript of his remarks published by radio host Hugh Hewitt.
CNN confirmed the authenticity of the remarks.
[Original story updated at 7:48 a.m.]
Former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has made a decision on whether to go forward with a third presidential bid and will tell to supporters which way he is going in a Friday morning call, a source familiar with Romney’s plans tells CNN.
Another Romney source said “the call is an ‘update’ call with finance, political, policy and grassroots leadership around the country.” While Romney will not officially announce his plans for 2016, he will clarify whether he is moving towards a run or pulling back from the prospect.
The news of the call was first reported by Bloomberg News, which highlighted an email that went out to supporters Thursday night inviting them to dial in.
The call comes as Romney is facing deep skepticism from some quarters of the Republican party over his interest in another run for president. His surprise announcement to donors earlier this month that he’s interested in making another run for the White House upended the developing 2016 GOP primary field, freezing Republican staff and donors who were torn between their loyalties to the 2012 nominee and a new crop of potential contenders.
Even some former supporters and campaign officials expressed concerns that Romney wasn’t the best option to take on expected Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whom the GOP plans to portray as old news and out of touch — both characterizations that could dog the former Massachusetts governor if he runs again as well.
A longtime supporter, who spoke with Romney in the past week, says “he knows because of all the pressure out there” he needs to be definitive sooner rather than later. By pressure, the supporter, who was not aware of Romney’s decision Friday, says he means the pressure from others, mostly but not just former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, to sign up donors and key operatives and activists.
The decision this week of a top Romney operative in Iowa to sign up with Bush’s campaign was the latest in a series of defections, raising doubts on Romney’s chances going forward.