Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and politician who served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election.
Raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, by his parents George and Lenore Romney, he spent 2½ years in France as a Mormon missionary, starting in 1966. He married Ann Davies in 1969, and they have five sons. By 1971, he had participated in the political campaigns of both parents. He earned a BA from Brigham Young University in 1971 and a joint JD–MBA from Harvard University in 1975.
Romney became a management consultant and in 1977 secured a position at Bain & Company. Later serving as Bain's chief executive officer (CEO), he helped lead the company out of a financial crisis. In 1984, he co-founded and led the spin-off company Bain Capital, a highly profitable private equity investment firm that became one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) throughout his adult life, he served as the bishop of his ward (head of his local congregation) and then as stake president in his home area near Boston.
After stepping down from Bain Capital and his local leadership role in the LDS Church, Romney ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 Massachusetts election for U.S. Senate. After losing to longtime incumbent Ted Kennedy, he resumed his position at Bain Capital. Years later, a successful stint as President and CEO of the then-struggling Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics led to a relaunch of his political career.
Elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney helped develop and then signed into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, the first of its kind in the nation. It provided near-universal health insurance access through state-level subsidies and individual mandates to purchase insurance. He also presided over the elimination of a projected $1.2–1.5 billion deficit through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and closing corporate tax loopholes. He did not seek re-election in 2006, instead focusing on his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Though he won several primaries and caucuses, the eventual nominee was Senator John McCain. Romney's considerable net worth, estimated in 2012 at $190–250 million, helped finance his political campaigns prior to 2012.
Romney was the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. He won the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first Mormon to be the presidential nominee of a major party. He was defeated by incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election, losing the electoral college by 332-206. The popular vote between the two major-party nominees was 51%–47% in Obama's favor. Romney kept a low profile for a while after the election, but later became more visible politically.