Flake Says Romney Could Create New ‘Power Center’

Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told Roll Call that the Senate needs someone like Mitt Romney to be an “independent voice.”

Said Flake: “We need Mitt Romney in the Senate. We need an independent voice, somebody who will enter the Senate chamber with immediate gravitas and someone who can work across the aisle, and actually, I think, create a whole new power center in the Senate. I think that’s desperately needed.”

Utah GOP Passes Rule Would Could Expel Romney

UtahPolicy.com: “You may have thought the internal workings of the Utah Republican Party were really screwed up before.”

“But now get this: If former U.S. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney continues gathering signatures as part of his U.S. Senate run this year, he may well be kicked out of the Utah Republican Party via a bylaw change adopted Saturday over the objections of party chairman Rob Anderson.”

“Romney has already announced that he’s taking the signature route, as well as attending the April convention.”

Why Trump Endorsed Romney

Jonathan Swan: “He could either endorse Romney, stay silent, or oppose the man he likes to say ‘choked like a dog’ in the 2012 election. Either of the latter two options would have resulted in cable news blaring “Utah rejects Trump” headlines after an eventual Romney win. Now Trump can claim credit for Romney’s victory, and be on the side of a winner.”

Said a GOP source: “This was totally predictable.  The President who (usually) has good political instincts got ahead of any stories (which press is dying to write) about a Romney victory (primary) being a repudiation of Trump, by endorsing him so now Trump can take credit for win and say it’s because he endorsed!”

A new UtahPolicy.com poll finds Romney leading likely challenger Jenny Wilson 60% to 14%.

Romney Could Take on Outsized Role in the Senate

“Mitt Romney’s extensive resume has many Republicans looking to him to take on a role in the Senate as a political and moral counterweight to a president many in the GOP see as divisive and undignified,” the AP reports.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who often has taken on Trump, was quick to welcome Romney in a tweet saying that the former Massachusetts governor “has shown the country what it means to lead with honor, integrity and civility. The people of #Utah and the nation need his strong voice, resolve and service now more than ever.”

McConnell Urges Trump to Get Behind Romney

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the New York Times that President Trump “should rally behind the Senate candidacy of Mitt Romney despite his blistering criticism in 2016, arguing that Mr. Romney’s potent bid was an illustration of the Republican Party’s improving fortunes entering a challenging midterm campaign.”

Said McConnell: “I can’t imagine that he’s not. We don’t want to lose the seat, and this looks like a pretty formidable candidate.”

Romney Announces Senate Bid

Mitt Romney announced in a video that he is running for U.S. Senate to “bring Utah’s values to Washington.”

Most interesting line: “Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world. Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion.”

Salt Lake Tribune: “Romney, should he win, will enter the Senate with an oversized megaphone as one of the most well-known Republicans, able to garner attention for every word he utters or action he takes.”

McKay Coppins says Romney is running as a full-throated pitchman for his adoptive home state — making the case that Utah’s distinctive brand of conservatism could offer a better way forward for the GOP and the nation.

Utah GOP Chairman Slams Mitt Romney

Utah Republican Party chairman Rob Anderson blasted Mitt Romney’s anticipated Senate run in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, hitting him for “essentially doing what Hillary Clinton did in New York” — campaigning in a state he hasn’t spent much time in.

Said Anderson: “I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here.”

Romney Already Being Considered for Leadership

“Mitt Romney hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, yet Republican leadership is already seeing stars,” The Atlantic reports.

“According to a Republican donor with direct knowledge, Senate GOP leaders have expressed an early interest in having Romney succeed Colorado Senator Cory Gardner as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

Romney Told Utah Governor He’s Running

The New York Times reports Mitt Romney sent word to Utah Gary Herbert (R) about the state’s open Senate seat in November’s elections: “I’m running.”

“His yet-to-be-declared candidacy is already highlighting the enduring fractures over President Trump in this heavily Mormon state, where voters have long been uneasy with Mr. Trump’s conduct. At issue is whether Mr. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, should be an overt check on the president, and even use a Senate platform to mount his own White House comeback, or act as an ally and retain access to Mr. Trump the way Mr. Hatch has done.”

Trump Talks to Romney About Senate Bid

“President Trump spoke by phone with Mitt Romney on Thursday evening, a conversation that comes amid mounting speculation that Romney — a fierce Trump critic — is preparing to run for Senate in Utah,” Politico reports.

“The brief call, which was described by two sources who were briefed on it, lasted less than 10 minutes… The two men also spoke about 83-year-old Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement earlier this week, opening the seat for Romney to run. Trump had aggressively pressured Hatch to run for reelection in an effort to block Romney from taking the seat.”