Mitt Romney Is the 2016 Republican Front-Runner

This is not an “Onion” story.

National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Matt Vasilogambros
Jan. 30, 2014, 7:11 a.m.

Mitt Rom­ney leads the Re­pub­lic­an field among New Hamp­shire primary voters for 2016. Yes, you read that right.

Why not make it a third run for pres­id­ent? That’s something that the former Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee is def­in­itely not think­ing about right now. To put it in his own re­cent words: “Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.”

But that didn’t stop the Vir­gin­ia-based bi­par­tis­an policy firm Purple Strategies from adding his name to a re­cent sur­vey for Gran­ite State voters, which shows Rom­ney in the lead with 25 per­cent sup­port. Liber­tari­an firebrand Rand Paul (who has strong in­fra­struc­ture in New Hamp­shire) and New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie are be­hind with 18 per­cent and 17 per­cent sup­port, re­spect­ively.

We might be ex­per­i­en­cing Mittmentum 3.0. The Net­flix doc­u­ment­ary about his 2008 and 2012 pres­id­en­tial cam­paigns was re­cently re­leased to the ex­cite­ment of polit­ic­al in­siders every­where. GOP in­siders want him to come back: “You know what a lot of them say to me?” an an­onym­ous “op­er­at­ive” told BuzzFeed. “I think we need Mitt back.” Rom­ney was even on Late Night With Jimmy Fal­lon to slow jam the news.

So are we sure he’s not run­ning again? “People are al­ways gra­cious and say, ‘Oh, you should run again,’ ” he said in an in­ter­view earli­er this month. “I’m not run­ning again.”

He’s done this kind of race be­fore. He’s got the staff. He’s got the loy­alty. He has the money. Time has passed.

Is there a chance? “I think that Chris Christie and Paul Ry­an and Jeb Bush and Scott Walk­er, and the list goes on, have a much bet­ter chance of do­ing that,” he said in the same in­ter­view, “and so I will sup­port one of them as they be­come the nom­in­ee.”

Maybe, maybe not.