AP Sources: Mitt Romney to launch Senate campaign Thursday - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

AP Sources: Mitt Romney to launch Senate campaign Thursday

Posted: Updated:

By MICHELLE L. PRICE and STEVE PEOPLES
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will announce Thursday 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 Thursday announcing his Senate bid. His first public appearance as a Senate candidate will come Friday night at a county Republican dinner in Provo.

Those with knowledge of his plans spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Despite a drama-filled history with Trump, Romney is not expected to address the combative president directly in the announcement video. Those close to him say he plans a hyper-local focus on Utah issues throughout the Senate campaign.

His announcement video will suggest that Washington has much to learn from Utah.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and one of the most famous Mormons, is widely liked and respected in Utah, which is heavily Mormon.

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.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comHot ClicksMore>>

  • Oklahoma restaurant shooting victims recovering

    Oklahoma restaurant shooting victims recovering

    Sunday, May 27 2018 9:56 AM EDT2018-05-27 13:56:34 GMT
    (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP). Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. A man armed with a pistol walked into Louie’s On The Lake restaurant at the dinner hour and ...(Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP). Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. A man armed with a pistol walked into Louie’s On The Lake restaurant at the dinner hour and ...
    Authorities say a Facebook page in which a man claims his television is possessed by the devil belongs to the man suspected of shooting three people at an Oklahoma City restaurant before being killed by two armed...More >>
    Authorities say a Facebook page in which a man claims his television is possessed by the devil belongs to the man suspected of shooting three people at an Oklahoma City restaurant before being killed by two armed bystanders.More >>
  • Teacher out of hospital after stopping school shooting

    Teacher out of hospital after stopping school shooting

    Sunday, May 27 2018 9:56 AM EDT2018-05-27 13:56:29 GMT
    (Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP). Law enforcement officers walk outside Noblesville West Middle School in Noblesville, Ind., after a shooting on Friday, May 25, 2018. A male student opened fire at the suburban Indianapolis school wounding a...(Robert Scheer/The Indianapolis Star via AP). Law enforcement officers walk outside Noblesville West Middle School in Noblesville, Ind., after a shooting on Friday, May 25, 2018. A male student opened fire at the suburban Indianapolis school wounding a...
    Authorities say a female student wounded in an Indianapolis-area middle school shooting is in critical condition and a teacher who was also shot is in good condition.More >>
    Authorities say a female student wounded in an Indianapolis-area middle school shooting is in critical condition and a teacher who was also shot is in good condition.More >>
  • Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Sunday, May 27 2018 9:56 AM EDT2018-05-27 13:56:02 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...
    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.More >>
    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms