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article imageOp-Ed: Mitt vs. Jeb — The Republican showdown begins

By Calvin Wolf     Jan 9, 2015 in Politics
Mitt Romney has just told donors that he is considering another presidential run, making him the third GOP heavyweight in recent weeks to put himself "out there." Now Jeb Bush has some competition. Will the dynastic dynamo remain strong, or will Mitt win?
That didn't take long! Mere weeks after Jeb Bush began exploring a presidential bid, a second Republican superheavyweight has entered the 2016 campaign waters. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has told donors that he is "considering" a White House bid once more, reports TIME. Romney is the third major Republican figure to publicly broach the possibility of a 2016 primary campaign, coming on the heels of Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee.
Jeb Bush is the younger brother of former president George W. Bush and son of former president George Bush, Sr. He was a two-term governor of Florida and has a powerful resume as a moderate Republican with strong Latin American ties. Mitt Romney is the son of George Romney, the former corporate CEO and governor of Michigan who ran for president in 1968. He was a one-term governor of Massachusetts and has a powerful resume as a moderate Republican and wealthy business tycoon. On paper, these two big kahunas are virtually neck-and-neck in a showdown of moderate Republicans. Bush may have a more potent Rolodex of friends and allies, but Romney was the party's 2012 nominee.
The sudden entry of Romney into the GOP primaries is important. It is a sign that Bush's exploratory moves may have spooked him, and other Republican heavyweights, into entering the fray. It signifies that he views Jeb Bush as a powerful threat, which makes sense given their similar political resumes. He may be acting fast to ensure that Bush does not "vacuum up" all available moderate Republican donors.
Romney, despite being a tried and true candidate and campaigner, is at a disadvantage because he contributes little new material to the 2016 race. While he, Bush, and Huckabee are all political dinosaurs, having left their gubernatorial posts long ago, Romney has kept the lowest profile since November 2012. Huckabee has been a media commentator and author, and Bush has been an active education reformer. How can Romney package himself as an updated, modern candidate with nothing on his resume since his 2012 general election loss?
The arrival of a second moderate heavyweight may provide additional opportunities for further right conservatives, such as Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, to appear "fresh" to voters. A GOP pre-primary heavy on moderates may cause voter fatigue, leading them to seek conservatives who are more outspoken and less bipartisan. Both Bush and Romney will need to be wary of this possibility and tread lightly, not engaging each other in a "battle of the moderates" early on.
As a result of this, and the fact that a contentious 2012 pre-primary was considered no good for any Republican, I predict that the next several months will see a quiet "Phoney War" between Romney and Bush.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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