Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney cruised to an easy victory in the race for one of Utah’s U.S. Senate seats.
What are the details?
Romney will replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch. Hatch is currently the longest-serving Republican senator of all time, having spent 42 years in that role. Republican Sen. Mike Lee will now be the senior senator from Utah.
A poll by the Salt Lake Tribune from early October put Romney at a very comfortable 36 points ahead. That poll had a margin of error of 4 percentage points. As of Oct. 17, Romney’s campaign had raised $4 million and transferred another $1.2 million from his failed presidential campaign. His Democratic opponent, Jenny Wilson, managed to raise only $917,734.
Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake City council, campaigned on being a native Utahn, while Romney was a relative newcomer to the state.
“I’m raising my kids here. I get this community and I think that’s my advantage over a Mitt Romney who is a relatively new resident here,” she told KUTV-TV during the campaign.
While Romney is not a native of Utah, he has been able to tout how he saved the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He was called in at a time when the Olympics were plagued with corruption and a bribery scandal.
This isn’t Romney’s first run at the Senate. In 1994, he tried unsuccessfully to unseat Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass). Romney also had an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012 against former President Barack Obama.
What is Romney's relationship with Trump?
Romney has had a somewhat rocky relationship with President Donald Trump. In 2016, Trump mocked Romney for being a “stiff” and a “horrible candidate.”
In a June op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, Romney said that he will support Trump’s policies “when I believe they are in the best interest of Utah and the nation.” Romney also said he disagreed with people from his party who believed that “in order to achieve Republican policy aims, solid Republicans should stand with the president 100 percent, or at least stay silent when in disagreement.”
He also wrote specifically about how he disagrees with Trump on issues like “broad-based tariffs.” Romney said that he would “continue to speak out when the president says or does something which is divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
“I do not make this a daily commentary," he said. "I express contrary views only when I believe it is a matter of substantial significance.”