UT-Sen

Romney Plans to Be Major Player in the Senate

“Mitt Romney is mapping out plans to become a major player in the Senate — positioning himself to be the spokesman of a listless Republican Party establishment that’s been steamrolled by President Trump,” Politico reports.

“The failed presidential candidate turned Utah Senate hopeful has made it clear to senior party officials that he intends to make a splash with his all-but-certain arrival on Capitol Hill next year… He’s conveyed a desire to be a loud voice on fiscal issues, railing against the ballooning federal deficit and how Congress approves last-minute spending bills. He’s expressed an interest in joining the foreign affairs committee, saying he wants to speak out on the importance of the country’s role abroad and the threat posed by Russia.”

“And his top aides have broached the prospect that Romney could tap into the expansive national fundraising network that he established during his 2012 presidential bid to bankroll GOP candidates.”

Romney Forced Into a Senate Primary

Salt Lake Tribune: “After 11 hours of political elbowing and shoving at the Utah Republican Convention — held appropriately at a hockey arena — delegates forced Mitt Romney into a primary election against state Rep. Mike Kennedy in the U.S. Senate race.”

“In fact, Kennedy — a doctor and lawyer — finished in first place at the convention with 51 percent of the vote to Romney’s 49 percent. The former GOP presidential nominee fell far short of the 60 percent needed to clinch the nomination outright.”

Romney Sides with Trump on Tariffs

U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney (R) sees President Trump’s proposed $100 billion in new tariffs on China as a shot across the bow but doesn’t think it would lead to trade war, the Deseret News reports.

Said Romney: “I think the president is leading with some policies that will wake up our friends in China and they’ll recognize that business as usual is going to have to change. China over the years has taken advantage of the attitude in America, which is we haven’t watched very closely and they’ve been cheating.”

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.”