One of the strange little mysteries afflicting Washington right now is the source of the occasional agitation for a Mitt Romney return engagement with the American electorate in 2016. TPM’s Dylan Scott has the story:

According to its own ticker, has gathered more than 28,000 names of people who want Mitt Romney to run for president in 2016. That isn’t anywhere near the 2 million-plus claimed by Ready for Hillary. It’s only about a quarter of the interest needed to earn an official response from the White House (if it were on the We The People website, which requires 100,000 signatures.)

But it’s not nothing.

Which begs the question: Who’s running this conservative (and low-budget) version of Ready for Hillary? That’s the rub: Nobody seems to know.

It has a professional website (not paid for by Mitt Romney, as it makes very clear) and growing following. The number of signatures stood in the mid-10,000’s when TPM first visited last month; now it’s approaching 30,000.

But nobody is taking credit.

Contacted by TPM via its Facebook page (more than 1,000 likes, joined Facebook on May 14, 2014), an anonymous presence behind the site replied, saying the group “consists largely of former Romney campaign workers and donors.”

But the respondent didn’t identify him- or herself and didn’t respond to TPM’s follow-up requests for comment.

This kind of reminds me of a story my mother used to tell of one of her co-workers in the cosmetics section of a department store who was taken into a back room and sworn to silence before she was given the breathtaking news of a five-cent-per-hour raise. “Do not worry,” she told her boss. “I won’t tell. I’m ashamed of it, too!”

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.