Is governor's mansion in Romney's future?

He's open to running in Massachusetts but not until after Games

Published: Tuesday, April 11 2000 12:03 p.m. MDT

Mitt Romney could be a candidate for governor after the 2002 Winter Games are over — governor of Massachusetts, that is.

"There is no question that I would seriously consider running for office again," Romney was quoted as saying in a Boston Globe article that labels him the prime candidate to represent the Republican Party in that race.

"That's true. I would seriously consider running for office again under the right circumstances," Romney told the Deseret News Tuesday. But he is committed to staying through the Games.

"I am not leaving Utah until these Games are completed, buttoned down and successful," Romney said. That could be as soon as March 2002, he said, just weeks after the Winter Games' closing ceremonies.

Although there's been speculation Romney would remain in Utah after the Olympics — and possibly run for office here — Romney has said he intends to return to Massachusetts, where he maintains a home in the Boston area. He voted there in the recent presidential primary.

But Romney has declared his Deer Valley home his primary residence for tax purposes. He also hesitated to rule out a run for political office in Utah, calling a question about his intentions "too speculative."

A successful venture capitalist in Boston, Romney was recruited by Utah leaders in early 1999 to take over the troubled Salt Lake Organizing Committee, in part because of his ties to the state as a member of the LDS Church.

In 1994 he ran a strong campaign against Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in a state that has few Mormons LDS Church members and where Republicans have traditionally been in the minority. Now Massachusetts Republicans are looking to him again to step up if GOP Gov. Paul Cellucci doesn't run again.

Romney, whose father George was governor of Michigan and a presidential candidate in the 1960s, is interested. "Obviously I was after the Senate, but in the right circumstances I would consider an opportunity to run for governor," he told the Globe.

Cellucci became governor in 1997 when then-Gov. William Weld resigned and was elected in his own right in 1998. Republican leaders aren't sure he'll run for a second term, especially if Texas Gov. George W. Bush wins the White House.

A Bush presidency could mean new opportunities for Romney, too. He said he won't run against an incumbent Republican but acknowledges that both he and Cellucci could end up in Washington, D.C.

"A Republican president, what would that mean to me or to a Republican governor," Romney said Tuesday, declining to speculate further, "given my non-partisan position now." Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt has also been mentioned as a possible Bush appointee.

Romney's decision about running also depends on the health of his wife, Ann. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis about a year ago, and while she has not shown any significant physical effects of the disease, she does tire easily, Romney said.


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