Mitt Romney won’t be attending a major conservative gathering in Iowa this Saturday, a Romney aide confirmed Thursday.
Co-hosted by Citizens United and Rep. Steve King – a Republican lawmaker from Iowa with strong clout in social conservative circles – the Iowa Freedom Summit will feature speeches by close to 10 potential Republican presidential candidates.
Bryan Lanza, a spokesman for Citizens United, said the group invited Romney on Jan. 9, the same day the 2012 GOP nominee told donors that he’s seriously considering a third run for president.
The aide said Romney will be spending time with family this weekend.
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Romney confirmed last Friday night in a speech at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting that he’s mulling another bid, but he offered no time frame of when he’ll make his decision.
Saturday’s event will feature a full slate of potential 2016 contenders, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who’s made steps towards launching a presidential bid, declined an invitation to the event, citing a scheduling conflict, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another possible 2016 candidate, will huddle with donors and supporters at a retreat in Miami Beach.
While Romney was initially declared the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, a certified vote count released weeks later named Santorum the winner by a razor-thin margin of 34 votes.
CNN’s Dana Bash contributed to this report.