Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.
The son of George W. Romney (the former Governor of Michigan) and Lenore Romney, Mitt Romney was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and later served as a Mormon missionary in France. He married Ann Romney in 1969 and they have five children. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, and then earned a joint JD and MBA from Harvard University. Romney entered the management consulting business, which led to a position at Bain & Company. Eventually serving as CEO, Romney brought the company out of crisis. He was co-founder and head of the spin-off company Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm that became highly profitable and one of the largest such firms in the nation. The wealth that Romney accumulated there would help fund most of his future political campaigns. Very active in his church, he served as ward bishop and later stake president in his area. He ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, losing to long-time incumbent Ted Kennedy. Romney organized and steered the 2002 Winter Olympics as head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, and helped turn the troubled games into a financial success.
Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002 but did not seek re-election in 2006. He presided over a series of spending cuts and increases in fees that eliminated a projected $3 billion deficit. He also signed into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, which provided near-universal health insurance access via subsidies and state-level mandates and was the first of its kind in the nation. During the course of his political career, his positions or rhetorical emphasis have shifted more towards American conservatism in several areas.
Romney ran for the Republican nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, winning several primaries and caucuses, but eventually losing the nomination to John McCain. In the following years, he gave speeches and raised campaign funds on behalf of fellow Republicans. On June 2, 2011, Romney announced that he would seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Political observers, public opinion polls, and the results of the early caucuses and primaries, consistently place him among the front-runners in the race.