Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, is more open to a third presidential bid than ever before, according to the National Review
"The governor is preserving his options — that's the message I've gotten from Boston," Robert O'Brien, a Los Angeles attorney and former Romney foreign policy adviser, told National Review.
A number of key donors are sending messages to Romney encouraging him to mount a bid, raising speculation that he could be a direct challenge to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as an establishment candidate.
"Bush and Romney, both former Republican governors, would occupy the same space in a Republican primary and compete for many of the same donors," the National Review said.
Sources close to Romney dismissed concerns that Bush would take Romney's top donors, and a top Romney bundler said that, regardless, Romney could run a credible campaign with "a fifth of the core group that we had before."
The National Review noted that Bush on Wednesday attended a fundraiser in Greenwich, Conn. organized by cousin Debbie Walker Stapleton.
"Donors and political strategists alike were buzzing about the optics of sending Bush to Greenwich, a haven for wealthy New York City financiers and a city where the Bush family has long had ties; the governor's grandfather, the late Connecticut senator Prescott Bush, was born in Greenwich," the National Review said.
The National Review said that the buzz surrounding a possible Romney bid
escalated this week after a report in The Washington Post indicated that Romney was dining in California Wednesday with a handful of advisers to his 2012 campaign.
However, two sources close to Romney told the National Review that the dinner was not a 2016 strategy session.
"Is Mitt telling anybody he's going to run? No," the Romney bundler told the National Review. "Are the people around him suggesting that he's open to it? Absolutely. They would just love it."
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