Speed Reads

Election 2018

Mitt Romney reportedly told a close friend he is running to be Utah's next senator

Rumors of a possible Utah Senate run by Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, have been swirling for some time, particularly since Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced his retirement at the beginning of January. A Sunday New York Times report says Romney has privately confirmed he will run to replace Hatch in this year's midterm elections.

Romney reportedly texted "I'm running" to Kem Gardner, a close friend, who read the text to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) over the phone on Saturday, Jan. 6. It would almost certainly be a successful campaign, for in Utah, the Times story notes, Romney is "beloved" as "the savior of the Salt Lake Winter Olympics and Mormon royalty."

Less clear is whether Romney would run as an enemy or ally of President Trump, who reportedly hates the idea of Romney in the Senate. When Trump was running for president, Romney gave a speech denouncing Trump's "absurd third-grade theatrics," and calling him a "phony" and "fraud" who is "very, very not smart." During Trump's transition, however, Romney was briefly considered for secretary of state. The two men had dinner together, a meal memorialized by a photo of an impish, grinning Trump and a sheepish Romney.