ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Former Gov. Mitt Romney is resisting the temptation among potential 2012 candidates to jump into the contentious House race in upstate New York -- but he told reporters in Virginia today that his lack of endorsement is itself something of a statement.
“I have chosen not to endorse the Republican in the 23,” Romney, R-Mass., said while campaigning for GOP gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom provided a few more details regarding Romney’s thinking: “Mitt Romney is a Republican and he tends to support the Republican candidate in races and when he can't because there are too many differences on the issues, he stays out of the race altogether and that's the course he's following in the New York special election. He doesn't plan to make any endorsement at all.”
A few other possible 2012 candidates have chosen sides, in a race that’s developing into something of a referendum on the future of the Republican Party. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., and former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, have endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the race, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has lined up behind Republican Dede Scozzafava.
Other potential presidential candidates who haven’t endorsed in the race include former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.