Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner ended his neutrality Tuesday in the Republican presidential race, endorsing Mitt Romney and saying he’d be “proud” to help him win the US election.
“It’s clear now Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee,” Boehner told reporters following a bruising, months-long battle for the party’s nomination to run against President Barack Obama in November.
“And I will be proud to support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win.”
Boehner had previously taken a neutral stance, citing his role as chairman of the Republican national convention in late August, as he sought to “make sure all candidates had a fair process and a fair opportunity.”
Several other leading party figures in Congress including Boehner’s deputy, House majority leader Eric Cantor, and establishment Republicans had thrown their support behind Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, weeks ago.
Having stated that the way was now clear for Romney to seal the nomination, Boehner, who became House speaker in January 2011 after the Republican victory in mid-term elections the previous November, backed his decision.
“Mitt Romney has a set of economic policies that can put Americans back to work, and frankly, contrast sharply with the failed economic policies of President Obama,” said Boehner, who has repeatedly clashed with the White House incumbent on economic policy.
Although two other candidates, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Libertarian congressman Ron Paul, remain in the Republican race, neither has a chance of winning.
Republican Representative Rob Woodall also said a Romney nomination was virtually inevitable, but stopped short of a direct endorsement.
“I’m a process guy, so I’m going to wait until August, when all the votes have been counted, but yes, I see Mitt Romney acting like someone who has won the nomination, I see him not wanting to waste a single day,” the congressman from Georgia told AFP.
Romney has this month switched his campaign focus to attacking Obama rather than other Republican contenders, a move that has become more pronounced since last week’s withdrawal of his main rival, Rick Santorum.
Photo of Boehner via Flickr / Gage Skidmore