Mitt Romney could change race for open Senate seat

Local Politics

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – For months many have speculated if former Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney would run for U.S. Senate in Utah.

With Senator Orrin Hatch announcing his retirement Tuesday many say Romney’s decision to run or not will change the race. Mitt Romney thanked Senator Hatch in a Facebook post for his service to Utah and the country. He didn’t mention anything about running for the senate seat.



The same day, Bloomberg Politics was one of the first to notice the former Governor of Massachusetts changed his location on Twitter from that state to Holladay, Utah.

Morgan Lyon Cotti is the Associate Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. She notes if Romney does decide to run he would be hard to beat.

“It would be very difficult to challenge Mitt Romney whether from the Republican or Democratic side, said Cotti. “However if Mitt Romney decides not to run we could see quite a few people going for that seat.”

Several people have already declared for the race even before Senator Hatch’s announcement. Jenny Wilson, who is a current member of the Salt Lake County Council, is a Democrat who has already announced she’s running.

She said she worked with Romney during the Olympic and respects him. Wilson worries if he does run it wouldn’t be a focus on local issues.

“What I’ve seen from Mitt Romney is this interest in holding Trump accountable or fixing the Republican Party, and I’m running to work for Utah not some other agenda.”

Other candidates like Mitchell Vice are taking more of an outside approach to the race. While he is running as a Democrat he feels most people are tired of both parties.

“I never saw real value in being represented by a politician so I’m trying to transform that.”

No matter who wins the seat they will have big shoes to fill because of the influence Senator Hatch brought to Utah. Experts believe Romney would have enough name recognition to do just that.

“Mitt Romney would be about as powerful a freshman Senator that any state could hope for.”

The primary election for the seat will be held in late June, but candidates must declare by March 15th.

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Glen Mills

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...