Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney announces U.S. Senate bid
George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) — Former Massachusetts governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is running for the U.S. Senate in Utah, he officially announced Friday morning.
Romney, 70, was the Republican Party’s presidential standard-bearer in 2012, eventually losing the general election to then-President Obama.
With Romney’s potential arrival in Washington comes notably real tension between him and the man now occupying the Oval Office: President Donald Trump.
Romney called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” during the 2016 presidential campaign, and Trump has regularly taken to Twitter to criticize Romney.
In his announcement video on Friday, Romney does not mention Trump, but he did have a few thoughts on the immigration debate waging in Washington.
“Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world. Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion,” Romney said.
After taking some time off from politics, Romney also said, he and his wife, Ann, decided that running for the Senate was the right decision.
“Over the last five years, Ann and I have spent a good deal of time with our 24 grandchildren. I’ve gone back to business, campaigned for Republicans and met with young people across the country,” Romney said in the video. “Given all that America faces, we feel that this is the right time for me to serve our state and our country.”
The seat Romney is seeking is held by longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking re-election in 2018.
While the race to succeed Hatch is not expected to be competitive, Democrats still criticized Romney’s announcement, saying he “desperately wants to separate himself from the extremism of the current administration.”
“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.
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