Bill Kristol Trying to Recruit Mitt Romney for Independent Run
Bill Kristol is continuing the #NeverTrump fight to its logical next step, trying to find a more mainstream Republican to run as an independent in the fall.
Bill Kristol is continuing the #NeverTrump fight to its logical next step, trying to find a more mainstream Republican to run as an independent in the fall. His top choice is apparently failed 2012 nominee Mitt Romney.
In spite of his insistence that he will not run, Mitt Romney is being courted this week by a leading conservative commentator to reconsider and jump into the volatile 2016 presidential race as an independent candidate.
William Kristol, the longtime editor of the Weekly Standard magazine and a leading voice on the right, met privately with the 2012 nominee on Thursday afternoon to discuss the possibility of launching an independent bid, potentially with Romney as its standard-bearer.
Kristol has been working informally for weeks to seek out a prominent political or military figure who could be drafted into the general-election contest, such as retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, who recently declined such overtures.
At the dinner, when asked in front of the attendees about possibly running as an independent this year, Romney said he was not interested.
“No, I’m certainly going to be hoping that we find someone who I have my confidence in who becomes nominee. I don’t intend on supporting either of the major-party candidates at this point,” Romney said, according to the Washington Examiner.
But, Romney added, “I am dismayed at where we are now, I wish we had better choices, and I keep hoping that somehow things will get better, and I just don’t see an easy answer from where we are.”
As Doug Mataconis has frequently noted in this space, mounting a true independent campaign at this stage of the race is exceedingly difficult because of onerous ballot access laws. Since Romney never formally entered the 2016 race, he won’t be subject to “sore loser” laws. But it’s nonetheless next to impossible to get on enough ballots to matter at this point. The more likely strategy is to co-opt an existing party’s line; the most obvious choice would be the Libertarian Party’s.
Effectively, of course, supporting a second Republican candidate is indirect support for Hillary Clinton. Given the distaste for her in GOP circles, which I share, I understand the impulse. But it’s a rather transparent workaround.