Mitt Romney has decided not to run for president for a third time.
"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 told supporters during a conference call on Jan. 30.
The announcement comes three weeks after he surprisingly jumped back into the 2016 presidential discussion after a meeting with donors in New York. Since then, Romney has been touring the country, giving speeches as recently as Jan. 29 in Mississippi.
"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," he said. "In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case."
The fresh face he could be referring to is Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, who most certainly will be looking to capitalize on Romney's exit. The same goes for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who many believe couldn't financially compete if both Bush and Romney were running.
Apart from his inner circle, the response of a possible third campaign for Romney is not what many Republicans wanted to hear, thinking he had his chance when he was the Republican nominee in 2012. Romney noted that “the reaction of Republican voters was both surprising and heartening.”
While he did find positive signs in the polls, where he has still lead the field, Romney realized the difficult task of marching through another presidential campaign. “So I am convinced that we could win the nomination, but fully realize it would have been a difficult test and a hard fight,” he said.
Beginning to build up a major campaign was something Romney was seriously considering, but he couldn't help but realize he was one step behind. After losing the 2012 general election to President Barack Obama, Romney consistently told the media that there was no way he would run again. Even though support still existed for Romney, the political infrastructure didn't stay in place like it did between his 2008 and 2012 runs.
It also didn't help that David Kochel, a trusted Romney adviser who ran his Iowa campaign in 2008 and 2012, committed to Jeb Bush's campaign earlier this week.
“You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and make to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country,” Romney said. “But we believe it is for the best of the party and the nation.”
Romney will not organize a political action committee or hire a campaign team, explaining that this is truly the end of his run for president.