[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/29/art.romney.7.gi.jpg caption="Mitt Romney’s political action committee Thursday will endorse seven Republican candidates running for office this year in Illinois."](CNN) - Mitt Romney is once again lending a helping hand to fellow Republicans in 2010, possibly with an eye on 2012.
The former Massachusetts governor's political action committee Thursday will endorse seven Republican candidates running for office this year in Illinois. According to a press release, Romney's Free and Strong America PAC is backing Rep. Mark Kirk, who is the GOP Senate nominee in the race for President Obama's old seat.
The PAC is also endorsing Rep. Peter Roskam, Rep. Aaron Schock, three Republican House challengers, and the GOP nominee for state treasurer. The PAC is also contributing campaign cash to all seven candidates.
"At a time when our leaders should be working to get our economy back on track, too many of them are more focused on expanding the scope and size of government," said Romney in a statement. "That is why it is critical that we elect leaders like Congressman Mark Kirk, Congressman Peter Roskam, Congressman Aaron Schock, Robert Dold, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, and Dan Rutherford who will make it a priority to get our economy moving again and create an environment conducive to job creation."
In the last couple of weeks, the former 2008 Republican presidential candidate endorsed nine-term Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan in his bid for governor, and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio in his campaign for the Senate.
Romney's PAC raised more money in the first quarter of this year than the political action committees of any other potential 2012 Republican White House hopeful.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn