Biden encourages Romney to consider Senate run in Utah

In this Nov. 29, 2016, file photo, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talks with reporters in New York. | Associated Press photo by Evan Vucci, St. George News

PARK CITY (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden has encouraged onetime GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for the U.S. Senate in Utah if longtime Republican incumbent Orrin Hatch decides to retire next year.

In this May 16, 2012, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at M-7 Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio. Biden is encouraging former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to run for a senate seat in Utah currently held by Orrin Hatch if the senator decides to retire next year. Biden made the comment to Romney Friday, June 9, 2017 at a luxury resort in Utah, where Romney was hosting an annual invitation-only business and politics summit. | AP Photo by Tony Dejak, St. George News

Biden made the recommendation to Romney on Friday evening at the Utah resort where Romney was hosting an annual invitation-only business and politics summit.

The Biden-Romney event, like most of the discussions and speeches at the gathering, was closed to reporters. But people who were there confirmed the conversation and described it as a warm, bipartisan talk.

Romney did not give any indication he was considering a run, should Hatch, 83, decide not to run again next year, said one person in attendance, Maryland videographer Dean Dykema.

“Mitt didn’t have a chance to ask many questions because Joe pretty much took over the show,” Dykema said.

Hatch, who has been in office since 1977, has said he hasn’t decided if he’ll seek another term but he might step aside if Romney runs.

The 70-year-old former Massachusetts governor now lives in Utah, where he’s remained popular 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 a state that’s home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In April, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he reached out to Romney about running for Hatch’s seat, but said he’d support the longtime senator if he decided to run again.

Hatch has said that he hopes everyone in Utah could get behind Romney and avoid a divisive primary contest like the one in 2010 that ousted his close friend, the late Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett. Bennett was defeated by a tea party-backed Republican, Mike Lee.

On Friday in Utah, Romney and Biden did not discuss the 2012 election where they ran on opposing tickets, but Biden did discuss the 2016 election.

He made some comments critical of President Donald Trump, but said he felt his own party and its candidate Hillary Clinton failed to connect with some key voting blocs, including millennials and those in working-class states where Biden was sent as a surrogate for the campaign.

Biden also discussed a need for bipartisanship in Congress, lamenting how Republicans and Democrats don’t sit together anymore in the Capitol dining room, and spoke of his efforts to improve cancer research, a cause he has focused on since his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died in 2015 of brain cancer.

Written by MICHELLE L. PRICE, Associated Press

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Foxyheart June 11, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Be careful, people. If you vote for him wanting a conservative, just be sure to really think….Biden is no conservative, so by endorsing Romney, he is telling you that Romney is far from the conservative this state usually votes for.

  • voice of reason June 12, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Folks in Utah don’t want conservatism. They want simply want a nice looking, older white man telling them how to live their lives. Mitt Romney fits the bill perfectly.

    And I’d vote for him in a heartbeat if it would put old Hatch out to pasture.

    • comments June 12, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Utah’s mormon voting block loves little Mittens with all their hearts, even though he’s another filthy corrupt self serving globalsit elitist. And you won’t even have to vote for him; Orrin said he’ll put himself out to pasture if Mittens runs, and let’s be real, he’s a shoo-in if he does. It would take one hell of a scandal for the mormons to not vote Mittens in; he’d probly have to be found out to be a serial rapist ax murderer or something to that effect, because we know mormons are such independent thinkers 😉

      • comments June 12, 2017 at 11:49 am

        But I think Mittens has bigger aspirations than just a senate seat. Mittens wanted to be the first LDS pres. And I bet he takes another go at it in the next 10 years.

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