I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah's values to Washington. pic.twitter.com/TDkas6gD2p— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 16, 2018
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Friday through a video that he’s running for the United States Senate in the upcoming 2018 election.
I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah's values to Washington. pic.twitter.com/TDkas6gD2p
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 16, 2018
“I have decided to run for the United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington,” he says in the video, posted to social media. “Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah.”
In the video, Romney says Utah is admired for both its beauty and its people.
“Utahns are known for our hard work, innovation and our can-do, pioneering spirit,” he says.
He also says this is the right time for him to serve Utah and the country, and speaks of bringing Utah’s balanced budget, high exports and immigration policies to Washington.
“If you give me this opportunity, I will owe the senate seat to no one but the people of Utah,” he says. “No donor, no corporation will own my campaign or bias my vote. And let there be no question: I will fight for Utah.”
The announcement comes just days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead. In a tweet from Feb. 14, Romney said he’d delayed his senate race announcement out of respect for the victims.
Out of respect for the victims and their families, I will not be making an announcement tomorrow about the Senate race. (2/2)
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 15, 2018
The announcement has been met with “unwavering support” from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who released a statement praising his former running mate’s “unparalleled experience, conservative leadership and lifetime of service.”
“Our party and our country are always better off when Mitt is engaged,” the statement reads. “… The people of Utah will be getting an accomplished and decent man when they make him their next Senator.”
Mitt Romney’s former running mate, House Speaker Paul Ryan, on Romney’s announcement: “This is a terrific day for the United States Senate.” pic.twitter.com/9ttA29nD4k
— Matt Viser (@mviser) February 16, 2018
Opponent Jenny Wilson, however, has criticized Romney on Twitter for being non-native to Utah and for representing special interests and wealth.
3/3 As a fifth-generation Utahn and Salt Lake County Council member working on the ground, I can deliver for Utah families in the U.S. Senate. Mitt Romney represents a voice for special interests and extreme wealthy. The contrast couldn't be clearer.
— Jenny Wilson for UT (@JennyWilsonUT) February 14, 2018
Wilson, a native Utahan and a Salt Lake City council member, has released her own video calling Romney “out of state, out of touch,” and promoting her senate campaign.
From Utah, for Utah. It's time for a homegrown leader who knows what everyday Utahns need.
— Jenny Wilson for UT (@JennyWilsonUT) February 16, 2018
The Utah Democratic Party has also issued a press release welcoming Romney to the senate race and “remind(ing) him that this office belongs to the people of Utah – representing Utah is a privilege and honor that is not given, but earned.”
The press release goes on to outline the “false narratives” in Romney’s video; for example, unlike Washington, Utah is constitutionally required to have a balanced budget, and like Washington, the Utah Legislature suffers under scandals.
“The Republican Party has lost its way and Mr. Romney has been complicit in that process,” the press release reads. “We look forward to seeing if Mr. Romney can establish himself outside of their floundering moral center in a way that Senator Hatch, and so many others, have continuously failed to do.”
Utah Republican Party Chair Rob Anderson also recently criticized Romney in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, saying “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. … I have two questions for Mitt. First of all, why? And how do you expect to represent Utah when you don’t live here?”
However, he clarified those comments in a Facebook post on Wednesday: