Three weeks after unexpectedly saying he was considering a third run for president, Mitt Romney updated supporters Friday to say the opposite.
The Republican Party's 2012 nominee, who also sought the nomination in 2008, said just moments ago that he would not seek the GOP nod in 2016.
The former Massachusetts governor shared his decision on a call with a small group of advisers, then in a second call to a larger group of supporters.
"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," he said.
By not pursuing a third White House bid, the 67-year-old Romney frees up scores of donors and operatives who had been awaiting his decision.
In turn, that creates space for other potential center-right candidates with whom those donors and operatives might align, such as Jeb Bush.
Once Romney expressed renewed interest in another presidential run, his loyal contributors, staff members and supporters went into a holding pattern.
The idea of a third Romney candidacy also prompted some backlash in Republican circles, and some of his former aides and donors moved on.
In a four-hour meeting last week, Romney's 2012 team relayed that while they felt he would be a great president, they could not urge a third run.
One by one, loyal supporters talked about surveying their troops from 2012, and finding that the enthusiasm and support were just not there.
Advance staff members, who had been eager to gas up their cars and race to Boston in the last cycle to work for him, were no longer as eager.
The situation with potential staff members, strategists, volunteers and donors was going to be an uphill climb, they said, and too much to overcome.
In an appearance at Mississippi State University on Wednesday, Romney was still sounding themes that could have shaped another campaign.
At the same, he also lamented the nature of the political process and offered a dose of barely veiled self-criticism stemming from his last defeat.
The 2012 election results show a fairly close race, but nevertheless, a clear defeat to an incumbent long seen by the opposition as vulnerable.
Friday’s farewell call seemed to be bittersweet for the Romney family, with his wife Ann Romney also thanking supporters for their longtime help.
Fittingly, even as he shared the news with his former staff members, Romney’s voice fell off the line as the connection was suddenly dropped.