OREM, Utah (ABC4 News) Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney handily won a U.S. Senate seat in Utah.
Romney defeated Democrat Jenny Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake County Council. National news organizations called the race for Romney at 8 p.m. just as the polls closed Tuesday.
He will replace longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring after more than 40 years.
Romney delivered prepared remarks at an election night party in Orem. Watch via the video below:
Read his speech below:
“I’ve been able to get to know Jenny Wilson. As you know, we are long-time friends as well as colleagues from the 2002 Olympics. She ran a strong, positive campaign. I admire her a good deal. Ann and I wish her and her family a future of success and service.
An unfathomable price in patriot blood was paid to give us the right to vote. This week, that price was paid again. Major Brent Taylor, husband, father of 7, and mayor of North Ogden, gave the last full measure of devotion for freedom’s cause. In his last post on Facebook, he quoted FDR: “in the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed, it must be achieved.” Thank you, Major Taylor, and thank all of you who serve our country in the cause of freedom.
It is fitting that the people of Utah have turned out in record numbers this year. Four years ago, 580,000 Utahns went to the polls. Tonight, over one million people voted. In my mind, that record will long be associated, not with early voting or with ballot initiatives, but with Major Brent Taylor.
Ann and I are honored to be surrounded by our children and grandchildren. All together, there are 36 of us, so even if they all could be here, we couldn’t fit on this stage.
They all share in this celebration, but none has been as important to this campaign as my sweetheart, Ann.
Our success tonight would not have happened without you, the more than seven thousand volunteers, and without the leadership of Matt Waldrip and his extraordinary campaign team. Thank you all so very much.
Our victory tonight is more than a victory of a candidate for the United States Senate. I believe that it is a call for greater dignity and respect. It is an affirmation that regardless of our gender, our ethnicity, our sexual orientation, our race, or our place of birth, that we are equal, not only in the eyes of God, but also in the respect and dignity we are due from government and from our fellow Americans.
It is also a call for action, action that is long-past due: action to finally get us on a path to a balanced budget; action to reform our immigration system so that legal immigrants are welcome and that illegal immigration is ended; and action to push back against the heavy hand of the federal government. Utah knows best what’s best for Utah.
I will be one of one hundred United States Senators. But I believe that one person, doing the right thing at the right time can have lasting impact. I will work with good men and women in both parties to serve the cause of America’s enduring greatness. And I will endeavor to conduct myself in a manner that is consistent with Utah values and with our national character.
During the next six years, I will devote my heart and mind and energy to be worthy of your trust.“
See more election results at abc4.com/politics.