Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMilley discussed resigning from post after Trump photo-op: report Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Attorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury MORE has informed a top businessman in Utah that he is running for the Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchBottom line Bottom line Bottom line MORE (R-Utah), The New York Times reports.
The local business leader, Kem Gardner, phoned Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) to inform him of a text message he received from Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, according to the newspaper.
“I’m running,” the text read.
The call reportedly came after Herbert told Gardner he was anxious about finding a candidate for Hatch’s seat in the event Romney decided not to run.
“Let’s not be coy about this,” Herbert said he told Gardner, according to the Times. “If he’s going to run, let’s go. If not, we need to find somebody else to run, and there’s people that have been trying to queue up for the opportunity.”
The former Massachusetts governor is reportedly the favored candidate of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE, and has spoken to the Kentucky Republican in past months about running.
Romney, who has positioned himself as an anti-Trump conservative, urged Republicans to reject President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE during the 2016 GOP primary.
Trump had reportedly urged Hatch to seek another term in 2018 as a way to block Romney from running.
But Herbert dismissed tensions between Trump and Romney.
“I think there is a willingness on both sides to say, ‘Look, we may disagree on stuff, we may have problems from our past, but what we ought to be looking toward is our future,’ ” Herbert told the Times.
Romney was under consideration last year to be Trump’s secretary of State and dined with Trump before the job eventually went to Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonDeadline for Kansas Senate race passes without Pompeo filing Democrats launch probe into Trump’s firing of State Department watchdog, Pompeo The Memo: Fauci at odds with Trump on virus MORE.
The 2012 GOP nominee will also likely be boosted by the support of Hatch, who pointed to Romney as his favored replacement last year.
“I’ve expressed interest to him,” Hatch said last year. “I can see why he might not want to do it, but I can also see why if he did it, it would be a great thing for America.”
Hatch has served as Utah’s senator since 1977. The state last elected a Democrat to the Senate in 1959.
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