Mitt Romney has suggested a deadline of February 26, 2024, for Republicans to rally around an alternative candidate for the GOP presidential nomination instead of Donald Trump.
He warned that without such a move, there would be “incentives for no-hope candidates to overstay their prospects.”
The Donald Trump Dilemma
The Republican Senator and former GOP nominee, is urging donors and influential figures to exert pressure on candidates with low chances of winning to drop out and endorse the candidate with the best chance of defeating Trump, who he recently branded “unfit for office”.
The date of February 26 is crucial as it falls after the primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, a pivotal point in the nomination race.
Romney’s ultimatum applies not only to the whole field of candidates but specifically to his Senate colleague, Tim Scott of South Carolina, who Romney is a viable contender with strong fundraising numbers.
Romney claims that the decision to exit the race lies with candidates’ families, friends, and donors, as party leaders have limited influence over them.
However he is concerned that failure to unite around a single alternative candidate may lead to a divided non-Trump vote, resulting in Trump securing the nomination once again.
“Donors who are backing someone with a slim chance of winning should seek a commitment from the candidate to drop out and endorse the person with the best chance of defeating Mr. Trump by Feb. 26,” the Utah politician wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday.
“Family, friends and campaign donors are the only people who can get a lost-cause candidate to exit the race. After Feb. 26, they should start doing just that.”
Romney also makes an interesting if obvious point that donors should not listen to campaign staff and consultants about who to back as they “want to keep their jobs for as long as possible.”
Scott Closes In On DeSantis
According to a recent Fox Business survey, former President Donald Trump maintains a significant lead in the GOP field, with 46 percent of potential Iowa Republican caucus-goers expressing support for him.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis garnered 16 percent support as the first choice among potential Iowa caucus-goers, while South Carolina Senator Tim Scott received 11 percent.
Other Republican candidates are polling in the single digits, with entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswany at 6 percent, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley at 5 percent, former Vice President Mike Pence at 4 percent, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum both at 3 percent.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez each have 1 percent support, while conservative talk show host Larry Elder and former Representative Will Hurd have yet to reach 1 percent in the polls.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.