A group sponsoring a "Draft Mitt" for president website is folding its tent, conceding the former Massachusetts governor won't take a third trot down the presidential campaign trail.
The pro-Mitt Romney website
was set up by Utah State Republican Chairman James Evans, who'd planned a national push in South Carolina, an early presidential state, the Deseret News
But Evans is now convinced that the effort is a "distraction," the newspaper reported.
Romney's former national finance chairman, Spencer Zwick, told the Deseret News last week that Romney is focused on helping the GOP gain control of the Senate.
"Look, the focus needs to be on the midterm elections," Zwick told the newspaper. "That's what Mitt is doing.
"This organization has absolutely no bearing on Mitt Romney running for president. He says he's not running for president, and nothing this organization can do will change that."
Evans said he'd talked with Zwick and others and decided not to go ahead with the draft effort.
"A national event with media and things like that could very well get in the way, and that's not what we want to do," Evans said. "We have to be mindful and respectful of that and not get in the way of anything Gov. Romney is doing."
Evans said the website has already gathered more than 114,600 signatures online.
"Any monies we receive are from people we have personal relationships with that understand anything we do is not in coordination with Mitt," he added.
Zwick said the Utah effort is not the only one.
"There are people all over the country trying to push him into running," Zwick said. "I've heard of 20 of these things . . . People should take him at his word, he's not running."
Romney has made it abundantly clear he's not interested in another run.
"No, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no," he told The New York Times
in January. "People are always gracious and say, 'Oh, you should run again.' I'm not running again."
"I want to make sure that we take the country in a different direction," Romney added. "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, and so I will support one of them as they become the nominee."
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