Shortly after Hatch announced he wouldn't seek re-election this fall, Romney's backers pushed for him to enter the race. While Romney has significantly decreased his attacks on Trump, he still occasionally speaks out against him.
"Utah deserves a senator who will expand opportunities and fight to improve the lives of everyone, not another multimillionaire looking out for himself, his rich neighbors and the special interests", Democratic National Committee spokesman Vedant Patel wrote in a statement released Friday morning. "Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion", he said.
Romney may also be confronted by the pro-Trump, anti-establishment forces in the Republican Party that influenced decisions by Republican Party Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona to retire after this year, although a Corker spokesman said he may reconsider. Orrin Hatch, according to reports.
Romney said in June 2017 that he would have accepted the job if he had been offered it, and that he and the president were not as far apart on issues as he once feared.
He said it's a "natural question" for people to ask about his ties to Utah.
The former presidential candidate has been considering returning to politics for a long time. He has a strong connection with the state, most notably when he played a major role in saving the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Those with knowledge of his plans spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly. "He became the face of the games - that there was hope to get out of this dark place". He also resumed buying real estate in Utah in 2013 (he previously owned a home in the state but he sold it before his 2012 run), and one Utah friend told the Washington Post in 2015, "He feels very at home here". "He has a center-right philosophy that's quite consistent with the main stream of Utah".
The numbers are similar to how Utahns voted in the 2012 presidential election, when Romney received 72.6 percent of the vote over Barack Obama's 24.7 percent.
By contrast in a three-way race in 2016, Trump won Utah with 45.5% to Hillary Clinton's 27.5%. She is, however, a Utah native.
Romney went on to say that dishonesty was Trump's "hallmark", and that Trump was "a phony" and a "fraud".
"Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah", he said.
Romney is the front-runner in the November election in Republican-dominated Utah. It's an approach other big-name figures who've run for Senate have employed, such as Hillary Clinton and Al Franken: Don't appear to be taking anything for granted or coasting on celebrity. When (Romney) was the nominee in 2012, he was the de facto leader of the party, but now President Trump is.
"Mitt's had various positions over the years, so what are we getting?"
His Senate run hasn't been welcomed by all.
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