“Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah,” Mitt Romney dug at the Trump administration in a video formally announcing his long-expected run for Senate, released Friday.
The 2012 GOP presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor has been a vocal critic of candidate and President Trump, and he kept that up throughout the clip, noting Utah “has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington.” He specifically mentions balanced budgets, export-to-import ratio, and legal immigrant inclusion, some of the administration's highest priorities.
Though Romney’s been out of the political limelight recently, he’s seen as a balanced voice in the GOP and has kept close ties to the Party. With his strong popularity in Utah, he's considered a shoo-in to take the seat of Orrin Hatch, who’s retiring after working since 1977 as the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history. Romney's high profile in Utah spans several communities, including the Mormon Church, where he's a prominent member. He was also appointed president of the committee organizing the Salt Lake City Olympics of 2022 and still enjoys a reputation as a Utah hero for salvaging the group from the disparaging bribery allegations and financial shortcomings of previous leaders.
Romney's been cold and warm on Trump over the past two years, slamming the candidate repeatedly during the 2016 campaign season but after the election meeting with Trump as he was briefly considered for the Secretary of State post.
As governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007, Romney introduced universal healthcare in 2006, an initiative widely considered the precursor to Obamacare, which made some conservative skeptical of him.
It’s not Romney’s first time running for Senate. He entered the Massachusetts Senate race of 1994, ultimately losing to incumbent Democrat Ted Kennedy. He's had a residence in Utah for decades but established his permanent residency there in 2014.
The primary for the Utah Senate election will take place on June 26.