WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) — The Latest on Mitt Romney’s bid to win the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah at the party’s state convention. (all times local):
Mitt Romney says he is looking forward to a primary campaign after failing to win the nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah at the state GOP convention.
Romney said Saturday he expects to do well in the primary and the general election after coming in a close second to state lawmaker Mike Kennedy at the convention in suburban Salt Lake City.
The former presidential nominee appeared upbeat after it was announced that he was edged out by state lawmaker Mike Kennedy, who got 51 percent of the vote to Romney’s 49 percent.
Romney suggested that he’ll focus his campaign on his experience in government, business and with the 2002 Olympics in Utah.
Mitt Romney said he hasn’t decided whether to support Donald Trump for re-election.
The former Republican presidential nominee told reporters Saturday that he wants to see what the field of candidates looks like before making any commitment.
Romney said backstage at the Utah Republican convention that he doesn’t want to miss finding out what all the candidates would do for Utah.
Romney is seeking Utah’s GOP nomination for Senate but was forced into a primary race against state lawmaker Mike Kennedy.
Romney said he supports many of Trump’s policies but is also not afraid to criticize the president when necessary.
Mitt Romney has been forced into a Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah as he looks to restart his political career by replacing long-serving Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Romney already has collected enough signatures to advance to a GOP primary. But if he had won the vote of party delegates Saturday, he would have bypassed a primary altogether.
Instead, he was edged out by state lawmaker Mike Kennedy, and voters will decide between the two in a June 26 primary.
The loss is a stumble for Romney. He went up against 11 other candidates, mostly political newcomers who questioned Romney’s criticism of President Donald Trump and the depth of his ties to Utah
Romney remains the heavy favorite overall to win the Senate seat in November.
Mitt Romney may have one of the best-known names in national politics, but he’s still going to have to face down nearly a dozen Republican contenders in Utah on Saturday in his bid to restart his political career with a U.S. Senate seat.
Romney will face an unpredictable crowd of far-right-leaning delegates at the Utah Republican Party convention. But while a loss would be awkward for the former presidential candidate, it wouldn’t end his campaign.
That’s because candidates can also win a primary spot in Utah by gathering voter signatures, which Romney has done. Though the law is a source of contention in the party, some high-profile candidates like Utah Gov. Gary Herbert have taken that route to victory despite losing at convention.
Romney will be one of 12 candidates vying for the support of core party members in the race to replace long-serving Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.
A win on Saturday would let Romney bypass the June primary and likely cruise to Election Day victory in deep-red Utah.
The state party delegates elected by their neighbors are gathering at the convention to choose nominees for races ranging from U.S. Senate to state Legislature.
Republican U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop, John Curtis and Chris Stewart are all facing off against challengers and looking to secure the path to re-election. U.S. Rep. Mia Love is unopposed in seeking the nomination, but could face a well-known Democratic opponent in a general election battle in November.
Romney, 71, will ask for the delegates’ vote after spending two months on the campaign trail visiting dairy farms, taking selfies with college students and making stump speeches in small towns.
After his failed 2012 presidential campaign, he moved to Utah, where he is also known for his role in the 2002 Winter Olympics and for becoming the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party.
He’s worked to keep the focus on state issues rather than his history of well-documented feuds with President Donald Trump, whom he called a “con-man” and a phony during the 2016 race. Trump fired back that Romney “choked like a dog” during his own White House run. But the two men have shown fresh signs of burying the hatchet, and Romney has accepted Trump’s endorsement.
Romney’s competitors are largely political newcomers aside from state Rep. Mike Kennedy, a Republican from Alpine who has served in the Legislature since 2013.