He could have. He wasn't term limited. There was no legal reason that prevented Mitt Romney for running for reelection. So, why didn't Mitt Romney run for a second term as governor of Massachusetts?
He would have lost. And, not just lost by a little. He would have been creamed.
Romney won his first term with about 49% of the vote. After 4 years in office he had a 30% approval rating--30%.
You can't blame this on Romney being a Republican. Massachusetts, when it comes to electing governors, is friendly to Republicans. For 16 straight years Massachusetts elected nothing but Republican governors (Weld, Cellucci, Swift, and Romney).
Yet, it only took one Romney term to destroy this Republican popularity streak.
There have been plenty of people pointing out that Santorum was defeated in his attempt to win a third senate term. I think that's a fair criticism. How a person has performed in previous elections does give some insight into their abilities. But, it's not fair to talk about Santorum's reelection record and ignore Romney's record.
And, what is Mitt Romney's reelection record? We'll never know for sure, but the odds are he would have been badly beaten. What we do know for sure is that in the face of a tough reelection fight, Romney chose not to fight.
There's an old saying that when the going get's tough, the though get going. When things got tough for Mitt Romney, what did he chose, and what does that say about the choices he would make as president?