Romney will run for Utah Senate seat


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is running for a Utah Senate seat, officially launching his political comeback attempt today by praising his adopted home state as a model for an acrimonious national government in Washington.

Having been one of the Republican Party's fiercest internal critics of President Donald Trump, Romney didn't mention the administration or Trump himself in a campaign announcement posted online.

The closest allusion to Trump was Romney noting that Utah "welcomes legal immigrants from around the world," while "Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion."

Romney, 70, will be the heavy favorite for the Senate seat being opened by Sen. Orrin Hatch's retirement. Hatch was among the first Republicans to pitch Romney as his potential successor.

Leading up to Romney's widely anticipated announcement, confidantes said he intends to focus his campaign on Utah, where he moved with his wife, Ann, after losing the 2012 presidential election to incumbent Democrat Barack Obama.

"Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington," Romney said in his announcement, noting that "on Utah's Capitol Hill, people treat one another with respect."

Still, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and wealthy business executive, would come to Capitol Hill with a higher profile than a typical freshman senator. That reality was made clear by immediate reactions to his announcement from across the political spectrum.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom Romney tapped as his vice presidential running mate in 2012, immediately hailed his old partner's "unparalleled experience, conservative leadership and lifetime of service."

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