A recently-formed committee is quietly working behind the scenes to bring about a 2024 Mitt Romney-Joe Manchin presidential bid.
Jennifer Franks, chair of the “Draft Romney Manchin Committee,” formed the group in early November and has launched a petition targeting voters interested in seeing a bipartisan ticket “bridge the divide between political extremes,” according to the Deseret News.
Looking past Romney’s unimpressive approval ratings and his failed 2012 run as the Republican presidential nominee, Franks “wants to reuse a playbook from Romney’s 2002 gubernatorial bid,” the newspaper reported.
“(Romney) was drafted then, he went on, and he won, and he did great things for Massachusetts as governor,” Franks said. “So we’re sort of taking a page out of that playbook. There were concerned citizens that wanted him then, and now we want him with Manchin by his side.”
Not excited over a potential rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, Franks wants to prove that a Romney-Manchin third-party ticket via the No Labels party is a viable option.
“I’ve always been a Mitt Romney fan and I’m certainly a Manchin fan,” Franks said. “They have a great track record of working together in a bipartisan manner to get what needs to be done for the American people.”
The committee is seeking donations to finance polling in Arizona, Michigan and other swing states to hopefully demonstrate a path to victory for the potential No Party “unity” ticket and use this to persuade the two men on their way out of the U.S. Senate to buy in, Deseret News noted.
“I really, really believe that this opportunity is the moment to change the trajectory of our country and the way that it’s going,” Franks said.
According to the Boston native and longtime political consultant, No Labels is responsible for the birth of “Draft Romney Manchin.”
“What they’re doing is they’re creating this opportunity. And so I got to do something,” she said of the nonprofit that considers itself an “insurance policy” to prevent a second Trump term.
A Romney-Manchin moderate ticket is likely to accomplish just that, as it will certainly draw more Republican votes than Democrat. At the same time, Romney has already ruled out another presidential run.
“I know that it’s been said that there that Romney would not run,” Franks said. “But I think that we can show him that there’s a path to victory and that a third-round draft pick is the moment.”
Her stated goal, according to the newspaper, is to provide the American people with “better choices” so they aren’t forced to choose “between the lesser of two evils.”
“I certainly can’t in good faith say to my kids every single day, ‘Go make good choices’ when I can’t even make good choices that ultimately affect families and the American people,” Franks said. “So I want to put other options out there. I want more options. I want more choices.”