Is Mitt Romney Exploring a 2018 Senate Bid?
The Atlantic reported this month that the former Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney is considering running for the Utah Senate seat.
The current Utah Republican Orinn Hatch, 83, has not announced that he will be officially retiring. However, he did say that Romney would be his ideal successor.
“If I could get a really outstanding person to run for my position, I might very well consider [retiring],” said Hatch to the National Journal. “Mitt Romney would be perfect.”
This may be the “go ahead” that Romney needed to run in Utah.
“Romney, who owns a house outside Salt Lake City, has discussed the potential bid with Republicans in Utah and Washington, but he would not move forward without an OK from Hatch himself, The Atlantic reported,” writes USA Today. “What could this run look like? Look to the past for hints. Back in 2012, Romney, a Mormon, won the state’s Republican presidential primary with 93% of the votes. And while he lost the general election, he won Utah with 72%.”
Although this is all speculation at this point, The Atlantic outlined a few factors that may pull Romney from his cushy retirement.
One being a chance to “challenge” President Donald Trump. “It would be an opportunity for Mitt to represent the Utah style of Republicanism … and present a strong challenge to the president,” said a senior Republican to The Atlantic.
Romney was a local critic of the current president, but quickly changed his tune when he was bidding for the Secretary of State gig, now held by Rex Tillerson.
“Another factor is Romney’s Mormon faith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is headquartered in Utah, has long relied on Hatch to serve as a representative and ambassador in Washington—a role that Romney views as important, and necessary. Many of the Mormon Romney-backers I spoke to talked about his call to public service in spiritual terms—with some even making half-joking references to “White Horse Prophecy,” a bit of apocryphal LDS folk doctrine that predicts the U.S. Constitution will one day “hang by a thread” and Mormons will have to save it,” write The Atlantic.
With the alleged reports that Romney is considering a 2018 Senate bid, his infamous comment about having “binders full of women” has resurfaced.
“We don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women,” said former president Barack Obama in response to Romney’s comment.
However, this former gaffe may actually work in his favor.
“Though the comment backfired during the debate, the binders are apparently real. The Globe claims a former Romney aide shared two white, three-ring binders, weighing in at a combined 15 pounds, with staffers. The binders are “packed” with nearly 200 resumes and cover letters of candidates, according to the newspaper,” writes Newsmax.
Could this binder comment could actually help Romney in today’s political climate?
“Indeed, the binders’ discovery could make voters in deep-red Utah, where Romney might run, nostalgic for a time when the chief criticism of the nation’s top Republican was that he tried too hard to promote women,” writes the Post’s Callum Borchers. “Trump’s Cabinet is overwhelmingly male, a fact the news media has noted. By contrast, half of Romney’s senior policy appointees, in his first year as governor, were women. In short, revisiting the ‘binders’ episode makes Romney look like a champion for women.”
Even though Utah could be where Romney could have a “political comeback,” Hatch may still decide to stay in office.
“Of course, there is no guarantee that Hatch—the longest-serving Republican Senator in Washington—will decide to bow out. GOP leaders in Utah have been quietly discussing for years how best to convince Hatch he should retire—but the subject has taken on a new urgency in recent months, as polls show an overwhelming majority of voters would prefer that he not run again. A few months ago, Hatch and his allies attempted to boost the senator’s standing in the state with a flurry of photo-ops, increased face time in Utah, and glowing op-eds in local papers—but his poll numbers remained stubbornly low,” writes The Atlantic.
Editor’s note: Mitt shot his mouth off a lot during the presidential race, and that hurt his reputation. If he can focus on moving the conservative agenda and not on his own ego, he should be a great longterrm influence in the Senate, should he decide to run.