Mitt Romney makes it official: He's running for Utah Senate seat
00:40, Feb 17, 2018
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"Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world", he said.
Leading up to Romney's widely anticipated announcement, confidantes said he intends to focus his campaign on Utah, where he moved with his wife, Ann, after losing the 2012 presidential election to incumbent Democrat Barack Obama.
Romney, 70, the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and the former governor of MA, made the announcement Friday morning on Twitter. "And I can tell you the polling numbers we've seen over the past two years, he's still the most popular politician in the state of Utah". He has a strong connection with the state, most notably when he played a major role in saving the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Orrin Hatch's retirement. Hatch was among the first Republicans to pitch Romney as his potential successor. "Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion", Romney says in the video, a dig at the Trump White House, which helped scuttle an immigration deal in the Senate on Thursday. Shortly after Hatch announced he wouldn't seek re-election this fall, Romney's backers pushed for him to enter the race.
Romney's national name recognition and political clout-thanks to his 2012 presidential bid and tenure as MA governor-mean he would likely have outsize influence for a first-time senator.
In the 2016 election Trump won the heavily Republican state, but more than 20% voted for Evan McMullin, an independent conservative who like many Utahans is Mormon.
It's been rumored that Romney, who once made headlines calling for Trump's tax returns, will tone down his rhetoric against the administration. "As a business person he understands the nature of being transactional".
Even so, Utah is a uniquely red state.
"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", Anderson said.
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