After several delays, 70-year-old former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, announced on Friday, 16 February 2018, that he is running for the United States Senate for the state of Utah.
In a 2 ½-minute video which he used to launch his campaign for the seat held by retiring Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Romney stated, “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington. I’ve decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington…Given all that America faces, we feel this is the right time for me to serve our state and our country.” In his first exclusive interview as a candidate, Romney told the Deseret News, “I’m in the fight. Just because you don’t get promoted to general doesn’t mean you stop fighting. There are things I believe in very deeply.”
Romney believes that he will be able to do more for the state of Utah than the average freshman senator. He can boldly make that assertion because of the personal relationships that he has built with many members of the Senate, including some 40 Republicans that he has campaigned for over the years.
Although Romney was one of Trump’s harshest critics during the 2016 presidential primary, he says that he sees Trump differently now, stating, “You have to look and say how’s it been in the first year and frankly a lot’s been done.” He continued, “Where I have taken exception is with some of the things he’s said or tweeted. He’s not going to change, and I’m still going to be the guy who calls them like I see them.”
Having spent much of his professional life in Massachusetts, Romney first ran for the Senate in 1994 against then-Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts. He has lived in Utah for 10 years, including as a student at Brigham Young University (BYU), and established permanent residency in the state in 2014. He is perhaps best known in Utah for turning around the troubled 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. After the Olympics, he returned to Massachusetts and was elected governor before running for president in 2008 and 2012.
According to his campaign, in the coming months, Romney plans to visit each of the state’s 29 counties to talk with Utahans about their priorities, issues and concerns.