Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a group of donors in New York on Friday that he is considering running for president again next year, sending a signal to the Republican Party’s financiers that they should not yet commit to former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
Romney, the Republicans’ 2012 candidate, told about 30 donors at the Manhattan office of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson that he was “thinking about it,” Spencer Zwick, a longtime adviser who was at the meeting, said in comments first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“Mitt is considering it because he thinks he can make a difference,” said Zwick, who has been among the Romney loyalists hoping the billionaire will make a third bid for the White House.
Former Massachusetts governor Romney, 67, first ran for president in 2008. He said repeatedly after his loss in 2012 that he would not run again.
His apparent interest in another bid comes as former Florida governor Bush has dominated the news with a series of steps toward a presidential run.
Bush, the brother of former US president George W. Bush, has started both a leadership political action committee and a “super PAC,” and also begun traveling the country to meet with Republican contributors.
Zwick said Romney’s decision would not hinge on who else was in the race, but he acknowledged that the comments on Friday could cause some donors to at least hold off on committing to Bush.
“If there are donors thinking in a vacuum: ‘I’m with Jeb because Mitt is not running,’ then of course they are now going to have more to think about,” he said.
The meeting gathered some of Romney’s top fundraisers and donors from the 2012 campaign. Johnson remains uncommitted in next year’s race and did not participate in Friday’s discussion.
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