Giving space for the future Republican candidate?
Mitt Romney said Friday that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, shared his decision on a conference call with a small group of advisers.
In a second call to a larger group of supporters, Mr. Romney said, “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.”
Mr. Romney said he believed he could win the nomination, but he expressed concern about harming the party’s chances to retake the White House. “I did not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming the president,” he said.
He added that it was “unlikely” that he would change his mind.
Mr. Romney, who did not take questions and ended the call shortly after reading a prepared statement, said that his family had been gratified by the outpouring of support, but had decided that it was best for the Republican Party to step aside. Mr. Romney said he would have no leadership PAC and no exploratory committee.
By not pursuing a third White House bid, Mr. Romney frees up scores of donors and operatives who had been awaiting his decision, and creates space for other potential center-right candidates such as Jeb Bush.
Mr. Romney, 67, had expressed renewed interest in another presidential run to a group of donors earlier this month, roiling the nascent Republican race. Many of his loyal contributors, staff members and supporters had been reluctant to come out for one of his potential rivals until they knew Mr. Romney’s plans.
But his flirtation had also prompted a fierce backlash across Republican circles, and some of Mr. Romney’s former aides and donors have begun moving on to other candidates.
Read more: NY Times