Senator John McCain of Arizona is poised to receive the backing of
Mitt Romney, who was his most formidable main rival and most heated opponent
this year, later Thursday afternoon, officials in both campaigns said.
With his Valentine’s Day endorsement, Mr. Romney will release his delegates –
and while the rules vary by state, he can ask many of them to support Senator
Mr. Romney and his advisers have been in discussions since he withdrew last
week from the Republican race about when he should endorse Mr. McCain.
Doing an endorsement now, while Mr. Huckabee remains in the race and continues
to be a thorn in Mr. McCain’s side, allows Mr. Romney to demonstrate he is a
team player for the party and to serve as something of a conservative validator
for Mr. McCain, advisers said.
The process for what becomes of Mr. Romney’s delegates at this point varies
depending on each state’s rules. Some are already bound to him, while others are
not. Regardless, Mr. Romney will encourage his delegates to support Mr. McCain.
The formal announcement is expected to come at 4 p.m. at Mr. Romney’s campaign
headquarters in Boston.