Mitt Romney May Have Real Competition in Utah

( – Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) could face competition to win the Republican primary for the 2024 Senate race. The Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, Brad Wilson, has formed an exploratory committee, despite Romney already filing paperwork, signaling a potential GOP challenge. Wilson told the press that he is honored to have support from 60 members of the Utah Legislature. He continued by saying that Utah needs a conservative fighter in the Senate.

These comments from Wilson double down on the rhetoric that Romney’s votes recently have deviated from fellow Republicans. During the 116th Congress, Romney only voted against a majority of Senate Republicans 32 times (4.5% of the time). However, this number rose in the 117th and 118th Congress, where Romney voted 202 times (23.9%) and 39 times (18.6%) against the majority of Senate Republicans. Voting against one’s party 20-25% of the time makes Romney an exception, given how solidly Utah is for the Republican party. In addition, his vote to convict Trump in both impeachment trials has given the conservative wing of the Utah GOP distaste for him.

Now, Romney has only $604,000 for his campaign, which further signals a threat of a significant challenger due to the higher cost of campaign expenditures needed for a Senate race. Already, Romney has the endorsement of Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. However, Trent Staggs, the mayor of Riverton and another contender for the Senate seat, has received endorsements from Turning Point USA, the Utah Republican Veterans’ caucus, and the Utah State Fraternal Order of Police.

Recent polling shows that 51% of Utahans do not want Romney to run for re-election, while 47% believe that he should. Additionally, 49% strongly or somewhat disapprove of Romney’s performance, and 41% strongly or somewhat approve. However, Romney still has time to get some conservative officials ahead of the Utah Republican primary, which will be on June 25th, 2024. With less than a year away, Republican campaigns will begin to mobilize as the primary approaches, especially for the Senate Republicans who could regain a majority.

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