Will 2016 Donors Hold Their Breath — And Wallets — For Romney?

Mitt Romney is leaving the door open — ever so slightly — to the possibility that he could run for president for a third time in 2016. That, coupled with some in the party urging the former Massachusetts governor to give it another go, could affect other candidates’ ability to woo donors, who could theoretically sit on the sidelines, waiting for the 2012 presidential nominee to jump take the plunge.

f potential donors do hold out, it would likely have the greatest impact on moderate Republicans who would be primed to assume the Mitt-like establishment role. That means former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Christie, said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. He said it could become a bigger problem for other candidates if donors continue to keep their wallets shut in early 2015. Every would-be 2016-er is eager to raise as much cash as soon as they can, and the longer donors wait on the sidelines, the more it hurts everyone.

Several major GOP donors declined to comment for this story. O’Connell speculates that donors may be staying mum because there’s so much dissatisfaction with the GOP field as it stands, pointing to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker re-election struggle, Christie’s so-called “Bridgegate” scandal, and Sen. Marco Rubio coming under fire from the far right for endorsing a bipartisan proposal on immigration reform that the many in the party felt was far too lenient.

“They are sick and tired of losing presidential elections and they’ll do anything they can to find that one candidate to win … they haven’t figured out who that one person is,” he said.

Read more from Aliyah Frumin at MSNBC.com

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