Mitt Romney decided on Friday, January 30, 2015 in a call to supporters that he would not seek the nomination for President of the United States in 2016.
His decision comes a few weeks after his former running mate Rep. Paul Ryan also made it clear that he would not be looking for the Party’s top spot next year.
Romney’s decision comes as a surprise to some political commentators who saw his establishment political credentials to be a solid foundation to compete against what looks to be a formidably deep Republican field. If Romney had decided to run, he could have counted on a base that was already flush with cash and organizational strength from his previous run.
In an oddly-worded statement, Mr. Romney decided that he was not running in order to “give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.” Something of that quote smacks of arrogance in that Mr. Romney seems to indicate that he would have been the presumptive nominee.
In reality, there is really no chance that Mr. Romney, who has now lost both a primary battle in 2008 and the Presidency in 2012, had a chance at the nomination against both establishment current and former governors. The fact that Mr. Romney would have to change his positions in order to remain relevant to the GOP in 2016 would only reek of a desperate attempt to remain relevant. In the end, Mr. Romney’s decision was likely made about a week ago in his meeting with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is also mulling a bid for the White House. If Mr. Romney had run in the race, he and Mr. Bush would have been going against each other for many of the same donors and voters. There was speculation in 2012 that Mr. Bush had declined to run for the same reason. In 2016 the fates have reversed and it is Mr. Romney sitting politics out while it looks all-but-certain that Mr. Bush will run.
In all, the candidate most benefiting from Mr. Romney’s abrupt-but-inevitable departure from the race is Mr. Bush who will benefit from most of the cash that would have gone towards Romney. However, it would also appear that early critics of a Romney 2016 run, notably Senator Rand Paul, were, at least to some extent, effective at painting any attempt by Romney to make a run at the White House to look like little more than the ghost of failed runs passed.
So, as we have been covering the “Road to 2016,” we can officially say the “Team Romney” bus decided to stop before they were even done painting it. This was the correct decision that saved Mr. Romney from repeated embarrassment.