Mitt Romney told a group of supporters in New York on Friday that he is considering a third run for the White House, after denying interest for months in a 2016 bid, Fox News has confirmed.
The former Massachusetts Republican governor, who ran against President Obama in 2012 and lost, made the remarks during a meeting with 30 former large donors in Manhattan.
According to a Romney senior adviser who was in the meeting, he said, "Everybody in here can go tell your friends that I'm considering a run."
The development comes after repeated denials in the press.
Romney told “Fox News Sunday” in September, “I’m not running, and I’m not planning on running.”
Romney’s wife Ann told The Los Angeles Times in October: "Mitt and I are done. Completely. … Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done. Done. Done.”
But in recent days, big-name potential candidates have started moving closer to a Republican presidential bid.
In the last week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush quit all his major corporate and nonprofit board memberships, and launched a new leadership political action committee (PAC). He announced he was exploring a run last month. Bush reportedly was in Romney’s old stomping ground in Boston on Friday for a fundraising luncheon.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also announced last weekend he is leaving Fox News as the host of “Huckabee” as he weighs a presidential run. He ran and lost in the 2008 Republican primary – as did Romney.
Though he has long denied rumors of another White House run, Romney still polls well. He topped an early Iowa caucus-goers poll in October with 17 percent. In a December Fox News poll, Romney dominated the GOP field. He came in with 19 percent among self-identified Republicans, followed by Bush at 10 percent. No other candidates garnered double-digit backing.
Romney, a man of considerable family wealth, would nonetheless have to raise millions to jump-start a renewed campaign on the road to the Republican primaries.
He raised over $446 million for the 2012 race, with his top five contributors hailing from Wall Street – close to his donor meeting on Friday.
Fox News' Serafin Gomez contributed to this story.