Romney will not run for President in 2016

Alex Hanson

Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney told supporters on Friday that he will not run for president in 2016.

In a conference call Friday morning, Romney ended weeks of speculation that he would run for president a third time in the coming election.

“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,” Romney told supporters on the call. The prepared remarks were posted online shortly before the call by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Romney’s announcement on Friday ends weeks of speculation that he would run. Romney first met with potential donors in early January, telling them he was considering a third try at the White House.

Romney also delivered remarks to the RNC in San Diego on Jan. 15th. As recently as Wednesday, Romney delivered a speech to a crowd of over 1,000 at Mississippi State University, using the speech to criticize former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee in 2016. Romney also spent time discussing poverty and income inequality, a shift in tone from his 2012 message.

The Friday announcement also comes just one day after David Kochel, an Iowa strategist who worked with Romney during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, joined former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s PAC, Right to Rise.

“Mitt Romney has been a leader in our party for many years,” Bush said in a post on his Facebook page following Romney’s announcement. “There are few people who have worked harder to elect Republicans across the country than he has. Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense.”

“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,” Bush added.

Romney served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 until 2007. In 2007, Romney entered the Republican race for President, later dropping out after Super Tuesday and endorsing John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee.

Romney also ran in 2012, winning primaries in 37 states. Romney clinched the Republican nomination, but lost to incumbent President Barack Obama in the general election.