Taylor Beck, Inside Politics Program
Last week Mitt Romney announced that he would not be seeking a third run for President. Politico broke the news of how Romney ultimately reached his decision to leave national politics. Following the report of Romney’s final decision, The New York Times reported that those who remain in the GOP race have begun to actively fight for the former candidate’s financial backers. With the removal of numerous campaign finance laws, whichever candidate can raise the most money will be given a considerable advantage in their campaign.
James Hohmann wrote on Politico Friday that Mitt Romney had officially confirmed he would not be pursuing a run for the 2016 GOP nomination. Hohmann, who actively covered the 2012 presidential campaign, wrote of the toll that national politics had taken on Romney within the past decade. According to those close to Romney, his decision demonstrates “a strong level of self-awareness.”  Prior to his announcement, Romney had closely explored his options in regards to financial supporters. To the surprise of many, Romney retained a large group of his 2012 pool including all 99 of Iowa’s county chairs. While a portion of his 2012 core had disappeared, a 2016 run would still be feasible. Hohmann also mentions that Romney’s team began to reach out to those who could improve the weaknesses of the 2012 campaign. Representative Peter King expressed how Romney “had a hard time appealing to working-class people.” Another step that was taken to bolster a possible run was to take polling results into account. According to pollsters, Romney had a chance to defeat Hilary Clinton in Virginia, Florida and Ohio.  Having the ability to win key battleground states should have made running a no-brainer. Instead, Romney began to realize that his time as the face of the Republican Party had come and passed. His decision not to run was for the benefit of the party, which perhaps hinted at a new direction for Republicans.
In correlation with Mitt Romney’s exit from national politics, Nicholas Confessore wrote that many other GOP campaigns have begun to vie for Romney’s donors.  Confessore, who is a New York Times reporter focused on campaign finance, notes that Governor Jeb Bush and Governor Chris Christie are currently battling over Romney’s billion-dollar donor network. Prior to Romney’s formal announcement, those close to both Bush and Christie had been making phone calls in an attempt to get an early lead in financing. For the most part, the nomination is up for grabs. Anthony Saramucci went so far as to say “this party is ready for an upset.” The new age of Republican leadership will continue to emerge over the course of the year with many reporters believing Bush and Christie will be at the forefront. To further assert their frontrunner status, both Bush and Christie have also begun to court “Spencer J. Zwick led Mr. Romney’s finance team in 2012 and helped the former Massachusetts governor raise more money than any other Republican presidential candidate in history.”  Whichever campaign Zwick chooses will certainly put itself at a financial advantage come 2016. Until then, it is difficult to tell which direction the American public will choose.