An influential newspaper in Utah on Sunday called on former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s to run for Senate to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and be a “savior for Republicans exhausted by President Trump.”
“Mitt Romney should run for Senate,” read The Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial, claiming the former candidate has a real shot to win, should he run.
“His notoriety as a well-mannered foe would help him work across the aisle in the contentious Senate. And his reputation for statesmanship would launch him into leadership roles most freshmen congressmen only dream of,” it added.
The Tribune editorial mentioned his well-known animosity toward the president.
In 2016, Romney launched an open attack on then-candidate Trump, saying he is a “phony” and a “fraud” who played Americans for “suckers.”
“I understand the anger Americans feel today,” Romney said during a speech at the University of Utah last year in March. “Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing … the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”
Romney also criticized Trump in August over his response to the violence in Charlottesville. In a Facebook post, he said the president’s comments “caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn.”
The editorial cites a poll showing 75 percent of voters in Utah oppose another Senate run by Hatch in 2018, who was elected 41 years ago and promised during the last campaign that this term will be his last one.
Polls also show that Romney would beat all opposition – including Hatch – if he chooses to run. Hatch, meanwhile, would struggle to win the state, with surveys showing Democrat Jenny Wilson winning against him if the elections were held today in what is one of the most conservative states in the country.
Romney reportedly explored his options to run for Senate in 2018, according to the Atlantic back in April, but he insisted that he will run only if the current senator retires as promised. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly urged Romney to run if Hatch steps down.
Hatch told the National Journal in March that although he has not “made that final determination” whether he will run again, he said he would consider retiring from politics if Romney be his replacement.