Mitt Romney isn’t running for president in 2016 after all, and Republican strategists are heaving a sigh of relief.
With a large Republican field forming, it had become clear that Mr. Romney wouldn’t sail to the nomination, after winning it in 2012. Donors from the GOP’s establishment wing were in a bind. And a key operative, David Kochel of Iowa, just signed on with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Mr. Kochel was with Romney in both of his past presidential runs.
Romney’s decision to step aside, three weeks after a surprise announcement that he might run again, helps to clarify the GOP contest and makes the choices clearer for donors and strategists on whom to back.
So who benefits most from Romney’s decision?
“Obviously, Bush is a no-brainer,” because of the big-money donors both he and Romney were competing for, says Ford O’Connell, chairman of CivicForumPAC.
Romney’s decision benefits “Walker, Bush, Rubio, and Christie, with an emphasis, I would argue, on Rubio and Walker,” says Mr. O’Connell. “Walker and Rubio can run in both lanes.”