ST. GEORGE – A state senator has launched a signature-gathering campaign as a way to try to convince Mitt Romney to run for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
Officially launched Monday, the “Recruit Romney” campaign is the brainchild of Sen. Dan Hemmert, R-Orem.
Hemmert, along with Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, and Rep. Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs, wants to use the campaign as a way to show the former Massachusetts governor that he has strong support in Utah to run.
“If you want good government, you need good people in government,” Hemmert told Fox 13 News Monday as the three men stood at the state Capitol to officially announce and launch the grassroots campaign.
To aid in this venture, they also created RecruitRomney.com where digital signatures can be gathered.
While the three state lawmakers want Romney to run for Senate, their campaign is not an effort to unseat long-serving Sen. Orrin Hatch.
“(Hatch) has done an awesome job for Utah,” Hemmert said, according to the Associated Press, but he still wants to see a Sen. Romney.
The 70-year-old Romney is popular in Utah where he is highlighted as the man who led a turnaround of the scandal-plagued 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and as a prominent Mormon businessman and politician in the state that is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hatch has said in the past that he wouldn’t mind seeing Romney take his place in the Senate if he stepped out. However, Hatch has also said he may likely run for another term as well.
Hatch’s Office has said the senator won’t make an official decision until the end of the year.
“The United States Senate is all about seniority,” the Recruit Romney website states. “Should Senator Hatch choose to resign, our most senior seat in the senate will become the most junior, and Utah will lose a powerful voice in D.C. As senator, Governor Romney will take his national influence to Washington D.C. and be a faithful advocate for all Utahns.”
In response to the Recruit Romney campaign, Hatch’s spokesman, Matt Whitlock, issued the following statement:
Senator Hatch appreciates this group’s recognition of what it would mean to ‘lose his powerful voice’ fighting for Utah in Washington. While he has not made a final decision about whether to seek re-election, he appreciates Governor Romney’s pledged support should he decide to run again.
While others have encouraged Romney to step into the Senate race, he is staying quiet about it for the most part. When asked by the Deseret News in September about running for Senate, Romney said, “I’ve got nothing to say on that topic.”
Though he voted for President Donald Trump, Hemmert said Romney would be a good counter to the president because he thinks before he speaks and isn’t as bombastic.
“We should be electing the best of us, the best morally, politically and professionally. Gov. Romney fits that bill,” Hemmert said, as reported by the Deseret News. “We’d be lucky to have Mitt Romney represent us as a U.S. senator.”
Just as the campaign isn’t protesting Hatch, neither is it protesting Trump or his policies, Hemmert said, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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