Officials: Romney to get Secret Service protection

February 1, 2012 - 10:15 AM
Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, greets supporters at his Florida primary primary night rally in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting Secret Service protection, according to two people with knowledge of the plans.

A Romney campaign adviser said the Secret Service will provide security for the former Massachusetts governor starting late Wednesday.

Romney's campaign requested the protection, an administration official said. The official said the administration determined that Romney met all the conditions for protection. Those include being a major presidential candidate who has raised a certain amount of money.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

With a win in Florida on Tuesday, Romney is closer to becoming the Republican nominee. His events have grown larger and his campaign team has had more trouble handling security as interest in the race has increased.

The campaign had previously paid former Secret Service agents to protect Romney. Two to three former agents would protect Romney at each event. Secret Service protection is given to each major party's presidential nominee but can be provided earlier if the Homeland Security Department approves a campaign's request.

ABC News first reported that Romney would start receiving Secret Service protection.

When then-Sen. Barack Obama was placed under Secret Service protection in May 2007, it was the earliest ever for a presidential candidate. One of his rivals, Hillary Rodham Clinton, already had a protective detail because she was a former first lady.

One of Romney's rivals, businessman Herman Cain, received Secret Service protection in November 2011. He dropped out of the race in December.

In the 2004 campaign, Democratic candidates John Kerry and John Edwards received protection in February of that year as they competed for the party's nomination.

Federal law allows candidates to seek protection if they meet a series of standards, including public prominence as measured by polls and fundraising.

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Sullivan reported from Washington.