Split On Mitt: Capitol Hill Republicans Can't Decide On a Romney Rerun

Some Republicans clamor for Romney run while others want new options

ByABC News
January 13, 2015, 5:02 PM
Mitt Romney is pictured waving to supporters at an election night rally in Boston on Nov. 7, 2012.
Mitt Romney is pictured waving to supporters at an election night rally in Boston on Nov. 7, 2012.
Stephan Savoia/AP Photo

— -- There’s a lot of division on Capitol Hill, and Mitt Romney’s latest presidential tease is no exception.

Some lawmakers are clamoring for a third Romney run while others are taking more of a wait-and-see approach. And there’s an additional twist with a few sitting senators considering 2016 bids of their own.

Here’s a look at the emerging factions:


Sure, Romney lost twice, but that little fact hasn’t stopped some from eagerly calling for another Romney presidential bid.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told the Washington Post, he spoke with Romney over the past few days and said he would support the former Massachusetts governor if he officially declares his candidacy.

“The country has buyer’s remorse and Mitt Romney has been proven right, particularly on foreign policy,” Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz is so eager for a third Romney bid he’s already willing to take shots at one of Romney’s biggest would-be rivals – former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

“Regardless of what Mitt Romney does, I don’t know how excited anybody could be with Jeb Bush’s candidacy,” Chaffetz told the Washington Post. “I want to win the White House and I don’t like the idea of another Bush-Clinton race. Been there, done that.”

Another lawmaker who wouldn’t mind seeing Romney in the race – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. In an interview just hours before the Romney's interest hit the news, Hatch pined for another run from the two-time Republican presidential candidate.

“I'd like to see him run again, I'd like to see him very badly run again,” Hatch told ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny. “You won't find a better human being or more intelligent human being or more religious human being or more family-oriented human being or brighter person for the presidency than Mitt Romney. You just won't.”

“I think if he did decide to run, this third time, he'd win,” he added.


But some Romney supporters from years past aren’t so ready to jump on the Romney bandwagon just yet. Many key supporters welcomed another Romney campaign but said they’ll wait to see how the presidential field shakes out and whether Romney will actually run before backing a candidate.

“Well, I’ll let him make that decision but there’ll be a lot of candidates who will be making announcements in the coming months,” House Speaker John Boehner said at a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday. “And it’s a very open process. May the best person win.”

“I certainly have a lot of respect. I think he hasn't decided yet, so I look forward to talking to each of the candidates,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said. “Most importantly, I want them to talk to my constituents and have to answer the tough questions that they will ask them.”

“We've got a lot of good candidates in the mix. He'd be another one. I think he'd be a great candidate and he's got a lot of support around the country,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said. “I think it'll be a spirited primary and I think we'll end up with a good candidate.”

Over the past week, Romney has called many of his former supporters on Capitol Hill, including Portman, who said he thinks voters would consider another Romney candidacy despite his previous failed bids.

“I think Ronald Reagan got a third look and won the presidency,” Portman noted. “People are going to want to know what his message is and that's what's really important.”