Did Jeb Bush Just Push Mitt Romney Out Of The 2016 Race?
AP/Brennan LinsleyWith former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) officially beginning preparations for a potential 2016 presidential bid, it may mean the GOP's last nominee, Mitt Romney, is out of the race.
Hours after Bush announced his intention to "actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States" on Tuesday morning, Fox Business Network Senior Correspondent Charles Gasparino reported the ex-Florida governor was also telling fund-raisers there would be no battle between him and Romney.
Gasparino also interviewed one of Romney's biggest donors, hedge funder Anthony Scaramucci. In that interview, Scaramucci indicated Romney is unlikely to enter the presidential race if Bush officially launches a bid. Both Bush and Romney are relatively moderate Republicans who would likely compete for many of the same voters and donors.
"If he does announce, my guess is that Gov. Romney will not run," Scaramucci said. "I'm a Romney guy. I do not think Romney's going to run."
Scaramucci also noted he does not "think Jeb would be making this announcement if he didn't see himself being the establishment front-runner."
In addition to officially expressing his interest in the race on Tuesday, Bush announced his intention to form a leadership PAC. That committee will allow him to raise up to $5,000 for himself and other individual candidates. More importantly it will permit him to hire a staff and pay for travel around the country, crucial for any national campaign.
Prior to Bush's announcement, Romney, whose spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story, seemed to be considering mounting another campaign.
In October, The Washington Post reported there had been a "flurry of behind-the-scenes activity" that Romney's "friends" said made him "more seriously consider" running again. This included meetings with donors and "supporters in key states." Romney also campaigned for Republican candidates around the country ahead of November's midterm elections.
However, despite showing some interest, Romney and his family have also indicated Bush could keep him out of the race. In a September interview, Romney's wife, Ann, indicated he would be discouraged from running if Bush was in the mix.
Shortly after Bush's announcement Tuesday, Washington Post political reporter Dan Balz also tweeted about a conversation he had with Romney about the 2012 presidential contest. According to Balz, Romney said he may not have entered that race if Bush was in the mix. Romney also reportedly speculated Bush would have had a better chance of beating a Democrat than he would.
1/2. Mitt Romney told me that if Jeb Bush had run in 2012, he, Romney, might not have run.- Dan Balz (@danbalz) December 16, 2014
2/2. Before he made his own decision, Romney considered Jeb a potentially stronger candidate against Obama.- Dan Balz (@danbalz) December 16, 2014
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