The Slatest

Mitt Romney Is Not Running for President

Mitt Romney will not give it a third go.

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Republican anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is fond of saying that running for president is like getting malaria: Catch the fever just once, and it will be in your system for the rest of your life.

I guess Mitt Romney’s fever broke. The AP is reporting that the two-time former presidential candidate told top donors that he won’t launch a third presidential bid. In 2008 he lost to John McCain in the Republican primary. He won the nomination in 2012, but lost to Obama in the general, of course.

“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,” Romney says in a copy of remarks given to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

Romney’s decision to take a pass means we’ll miss out on the rare treat of a Romney/Huckabee Iowa smackdown. (Erstwhile Fox News host Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in the 2008 Republican primary, and Romney took second. I was looking forward to a rematch.)

Jeb Bush, who is all but certain to run, now seems even likelier with Romney out. Bush recently snagged former Romney strategist David Kochel to be a senior strategist. The New York Times reports that Kochel will likely be his campaign manager.