Mitt Romney won't run for Ted Kennedy's seat


Former Massachusetts
GOP Gov. Mitt Romney will not seek the Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy’s death, a Romney spokesman said Thursday.

Responding to speculation that Romney may be interested in the seat — which he challenged Kennedy for in 1994 — Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Romney’s political action committee, told POLITICO that the former one-term governor has no interest in campaigning to replace Kennedy.

“Gov. Romney’s focus right now is on helping other Republicans run for office, and that is how he will be spending his time,” he said.

Romney’s name had been floated in state political circles and among conservative bloggers as a viable GOP candidate, but Fehrnstrom said Romney absolutely will not run.

Despite declining to run for a second term as governor in 2006 and dwindling support in the state for his landmark universal health care policy, Romney’s poll ratings in solidly Democratic Massachusetts remain respectable.

According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released the day before Kennedy’s death late Tuesday night, Romney rated second after the late nine-term senator as the most respected politician in the state.

More than one-third of those surveyed, 35 percent, said they respected Romney the most among the state’s politicians. Only 5 percent said Democratic Sen. John Kerry while 3 percent chose Deval Patrick, the state’s Democratic governor. Exactly half of those surveyed said they respected Kennedy the most.

Romney’s 1994 Senate run ranks as Kennedy’s toughest reelection challenge — the only time since Kennedy’s first election in 1962 where he was held to under 60 percent. Kennedy defeated Romney 58 percent to 41 percent.

In a statement following Kennedy’s death, Romney praised his former rival as “big-hearted” and “unforgettable.”

“The loss of Sen. Ted Kennedy is a sad event for America, and especially for Massachusetts,” Romney said. “In 1994, I joined the long list of those who ran against Ted and came up short. But he was the kind of man you could like even if he was your adversary.”