Romney's Run for Senate in Utah
That this worst-kept secret was national news for weeks prior to the announcement is telling in and of itself.
If every state had behaved like Utah did on Nov. 6, 2012, we may well be discussing the lameness of Mitt Romney’s lame-duck presidency right about now. Alas, the rest of the nation couldn’t match the overwhelming 49-point win Romney garnered in the Beehive State — the largest margin of victory in the country outside of Barack Obama’s win in Washington, DC — but the state Mitt relocated to permanently in 2013 is primed to send him to Washington as its next senator. Romney announced via his Twitter account this morning, “I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah’s values to Washington.”
That this worst-kept secret was national news for weeks prior to the announcement is telling in and of itself. Granted, it is somewhat unusual for a former presidential nominee — especially an “elder statesman” like Romney — to seek a new office after his failed run, but the mainstream media is drooling to have another #NeverTrump Republican in office for instant comment. After all, we have a track record to go by: “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Mitt said in 2016. Yet despite his previous interest in the Trump administration’s secretary of state post, Romney is likely now to be a “Conscience of the Senate” just like fellow failed GOP nominee John McCain.
Proving again that the Leftmedia love no Republicans more than presidential losers, Romney would fill an “impending vacuum of moral leadership inside the GOP conference,” according to insiders at The Washington Post. They point out that Romney’s advanced age (he turns 71 next month) means he may serve just one term, calling him a “latter-day Cincinnatus.” The fact that he’s replacing the soon-to-be 84-year-old Orrin Hatch, though, could well portend a re-election bid in six years.
It’s that age and status as an outsider that rankles some observers. “I think he’s 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,” complained Utah GOP Chair Rob Anderson to the Salt Lake Tribune. Anderson later walked back his comparison to Hillary Clinton’s carpetbagging for a Senate seat from New York, but there is a school of thought that Utah surely has “bright, driven, accomplished, scandal-free conservative Republicans growing on trees out there.” As Jim Geraghty continued to ponder at National Review, “If Romney jumps in, is there some other great conservative rising star whose debut on the national stage will be delayed as a result?”
Geraghty, though, has no doubt Romney would be a fine senator, providing “a more respectful politics.” Fellow NR commentator David French agrees, believing a Senator Romney “will disappoint all the right people.” It’s already beginning, as Alex Isenstadt at Politico warned: Romney “intends to carefully skirt questions about how he’ll deal with the president and what could be in store for his future, amid speculation that he’s already plotting a role in leadership or even another campaign for the White House.” In other words, the Utah campaign would be nothing like his presidential bid, with Romney attempting to localize a seemingly national election. While many recent Senate candidates have worked to make their campaigns well-known around the country, Romney would be happy to make this campaign as obscure as a local congressional race. A victory is expected to be a fait accompli, but he could harm the GOP’s national effort with another ill-considered “47%” gaffe run 24/7 by the Democrats’ Leftmedia spin machine.
As the saying goes, unless someone finds him in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, Mitt Romney will be the next U.S. senator from Utah. The question is just how much impact he’ll have on the presidency of Donald Trump, who won the office Romney twice sought unsuccessfully.