A Romney/Manchin presidential ticket? There’s a new group that says the ‘political heavyweights’ can win the White House
A Boston-based committee formed to draft Romney and Manchin to run
Should Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney run for president again as an independent with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on the ticket?
Yes, say backers of a new Boston-based “Draft Romney Manchin Committee” that filed with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday, who believe the pair can beat the frontrunners, Democratic President Joe Biden and former GOP President Donald Trump.
“Wouldn’t it be great to go to the polls and actually feel good about the choices that you have instead of the lesser of two evils,” an adviser close to the committee with direct knowledge of their internal planning told the Deseret News Friday.
The adviser, who requested that his name not be used in advance of a public announcement next week, said the committee plans to start polling in states including Utah to show Romney and Manchin they can win the White House rather than serve as spoilers.
Compared to other third-party presidential candidates, a list that includes Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the adviser said Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, and Manchin, a key Democratic vote in the Senate, are “political heavyweights” and better known to voters.
“Unlike all of the other candidates, this would be the only unity or bipartisan ticket. That alone sends a message about what is making so many people disgusted with what’s happening in Washington, where politicians elevate party over country,” the adviser said.
“Romney and Manchin have shown time and again in Washington already that they’re willing to cross party lines for the good of the nation,” he said, citing the pair teaming up his week on the Fiscal Stability Act, legislation intended to confront the national debt.
The political action committee has no ties to Romney or Manchin, or to the independent No Labels political group seeking ballot access nationwide that eventually would be asked to back the ticket, the adviser said.
The third party’s convention is in March, where delegates would be asked to back the ticket, he said. No Labels has said it has no involvement in the committee’s push to draft Romney and Manchin, but welcomed it, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The committee also intends to build up a campaign infrastructure, the adviser said, describing its members as having campaigned for Republican and Democratic candidates including Romney’s bids for Massachusetts governor and for president.
Romney, who recently announced he would not seek a second term in the U.S. Senate, has toyed with what would be a third presidential run, going as far as drafting a “dream campaign platform” earlier this year, according to the new book, “Romney: A Reckoning.”
But the longtime critic of Trump and his impact on the Republican Party shelved what was described as a “kamikaze campaign” after being told it would weaken Biden and ensure Trump’s return to the White House, the book said.
On Thursday, Romney said he would write in the name of his wife, Ann, for president on next year’s ballot if the choice comes down to Biden or Trump. Romney voted for his wife in 2016 and had said he would do the same in 2020.
Romney’s Senate chief of staff, Liz Johnson, said in a statement to the Deseret News Friday, “Sen. Romney was not aware of this effort and he is not considering running for president on any ticket.”
Manchin has been eying a third-party presidential bid under the No Labels banner. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was floated as a possible running mate for Manchin after they held a “Common Sense Town Hall” together in New Hampshire in July.
The West Virginia senator’s surprise announcement Thursday that he would not seek reelection in his deeply red state has reignited speculation that he’ll instead make a bid for the White House.
Manchin hinted at a run Thursday, saying in a statement he’ll be “traveling the country and speaking out, to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle, and bring Americans together.”
Romney responded to Manchin’s announcement on social media, saying, “I will miss this American patriot in the Senate. But our friendship and our commitment to American values will not end.”