Romney, Bush work House for support, pick up several early endorsements

The recent announcement by former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney that he is considering a third White House run in 2016 has resulted in several early Capitol Hill endorsements.

The flurry of public endorsements, including several during this week's GOP congressional retreat, is largely split between Romney and former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who last month said he was seriously considering a presidential run.

“I think Romney checks three boxes,” said Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who backed Romney in 2012. “He’s well-vetted. We know exactly what we’re going to get. … And he is one of the few people that can raise the $1 billion it’s going to take to beat Hillary Clinton.”

Chaffetz said recent history shows Romney in his 2012 bid against incumbent Democratic President Obama was right on several issues, including his foreign policy position that Russia was the United States’ “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

Earnest speculation about another Romney run started last week when he told a group of donors that he was interested in running again, which was followed by news reports that he and wife Ann were trying to contact former aides and donors.

And on Friday, Romney gave a campaign-style speech in San Diego before those gathered there for a Republican National Committee meeting.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, also reportedly got an early endorsement on Tuesday from Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.

“Gov. Romney is the only person who has the credentials,” Kelly told NewsMaxTV. “He’s done it in the past, he can do it again.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says she supports Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, all Florida Republicans.

Ros-Lehtinen told The Hill newspaper she was giving early support to both because likely “in the end only one will run.”

She was among a handful of House members at the retreat -- including Joe Wilson, S.C.; Mike McCaul, Texas, and Carlos Curbelo, Fla. -- who acknowledged having been contacted by several likely GOP presidential candidates seeking early support.