Digital Access

Digital Access
Access saukvalley.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from SaukValley.com, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Nation & World

Mitt Romney plans to launch Senate campaign Thursday

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will announce today that he’s running for the Utah Senate seat held by retiring Orrin Hatch, three people with direct knowledge of the plan confirmed Wednesday.

He’ll be a heavy favorite to keep the seat in Republican hands.

The 70-year-old Romney, once a harsh critic of President Donald Trump, will release an online video today announcing his Senate bid. His first public appearance as a Senate candidate will come Friday night at a county Republican dinner in Provo.

He moved to Utah after losing the 2012 presidential election.

That was a decade after he helped turn around the scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Olympics.

In addition to his instant name recognition, Romney has a deep network of fundraisers and his own personal wealth to help carry him. Those close to him suggest he will not seek financial aid from any super PACs or Washington-based campaign committees.

If he becomes Utah’s next senator, some supporters hope that the one-time Trump critic could serve as a political and moral counterweight to a president they see as divisive, erratic and undignified.

During the 2016 presidential election, Romney gave a scathing speech in which he called Trump “a phony” who was “playing the American public for suckers” and was unfit to be president.

He softened his stance after Trump won the presidency and put himself forward as a candidate for secretary of state. But he resumed his criticism last year, calling out the president for blaming “both sides” following a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump, in turn, has criticized Romney for his failed presidential bids in 2008 and 2012, saying he “choked like a dog.”

Any efforts by Trump to block Romney are unlikely to resonate in Utah, where the president received a lukewarm reception from Mormons who were repelled by his brash demeanor and comments about women and minorities.

Romney isn’t expected to face any serious challenges for the seat. Even Utah’s conservatives, who see him as too moderate and establishment for their liking, admit they respect him and are unlikely to block him.

However, some in the state see Romney as an outsider who is simply banking on his fame. The Utah Republican Party chairman took the unusual step Wednesday of criticizing the man who is expected to be his party’s Senate nominee.

Rob Anderson told The Salt Lake Tribune that Romney is “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 did not return messages from the AP seeking comment.

Romney was treated last year for prostate cancer, which an aide said was removed surgically and found not to have spread.

Hatch plans to retire after 2018, following more than four decades in the Senate. One of the longest-serving senators in U.S. history, Hatch began floating Romney’s name last year as his potential successor.

When Hatch won re-election in 2012, he pledged that his seventh term would be his last. He flirted with breaking that promise, suggesting he might run again in 2018 with the encouragement of Trump, who has sought to block Romney.

In the end, Hatch decided to stick with his promise, saying, “Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”

___

AP writer Peoples reported from New York City.

Loading more