Romney delays Senate run announcement following Florida school shooting

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

ST. GEORGE –  Anticipated to officially nnounce his bid for retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat Thursday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said over Twitter that he will be delaying this announcement in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida Wednesday.

The shooting left 17 dead and the shooter is in custody.

“As a father and grandfather, my heart aches for the victims of today’s tragic events. My prayers go out to all of the families and loved ones affected by this senseless act of violence>” Romney wrote. “Out of respect for the victims and their families, I will not be making an announcement tomorrow about the Senate race.”

Updated Feb. 14, 5:45 p.m. Romney anounced via Twitter he is postponing his Senate race announcment out of respect for the victims of the Florida school shooting,

Romney was reportedly set to officially announce Thursday that he’s running for Senate. While he has gained support and encouragement to run for the seat long-held by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, the state’s GOP chair has a difference of opinion.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that anonymous sources with direct knowledge of Romney’s plans say the former governor and 2012 presidential candidate will make his announcement in a video to be released Thursday.

“Stay tuned for my announcement on the Utah Senate race this Thursday,” Romney wrote on his Facebook page Monday.

Following Thursday’s announcement, Romney is scheduled to appear at the Utah County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner event Friday.

The 70-year-old Romney is seen as a safe bet to keep Hatch’s seat in Republican hands once he steps down at the end of 2018. Among those who have publicly expressed their desire for Romney to run have been Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. Hatch has also said he would like Romney – or someone very much like Romney – to replace him.

Herbert was quoted last month as saying he considered Romney a “great, qualified and capable” candidate. The governor also said he believes voters will rally around Romney as well.

In this file photo, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the tech sector during an industry conference in Salt Lake City. Three people with direct knowledge of the plan say Romney will formally launch his campaign in a video. Photo from Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 19, 2018 | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

“We have have people out there, but certainly, when it comes to polling, and who I think has the best chance of winning – there’s nobody better than Mitt Romney,” Herbert said.

Not everyone is singing Romney’s praises, however, as Utah GOP chair Rob Anderson told The Salt Tribune that Romney is doing to Utah what Hillary Clinton did to New York by campaigning in a state he hasn’t lived in.

“I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah, because let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here,” Anderson told the Tribune.

Romney is likely to be an instant front-runner should he step into the Senate race, Anderson said, which will deter other, potentially better candidates from running in order to avoid a David and Goliath situation.

Anderson also said Romney wasn’t a supporter of President Donald Trump, adding that he would like a candidate who actually supported the party platforms.

Trump and Romney haven’t had the best of political relationships in the past, as Romney referred to Trump as “a fraud” who had “neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president” during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump, in turn, has criticized Romney for his failed presidential bids in 2008 and 2012, saying he “choked like a dog.”

However, Romney is still popular in Utah where he is held up as the man who led a turnaround of the scandal-plagued 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, as well as a prominent Mormon businessman and politician in the state that is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Originally hailing from Michigan and Massachusetts, Romney bought a home in Utah within the last few years.

Others who have declared their intent to run for Hatch’s seat in 2018 include Democrat Jenny Wilson, who currently serves on the Salt Lake County Council, and Republican Larry Meyers, a St. George attorney.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • Death Valley February 14, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Another carpet-bagger out of state establishment Republican.
    Here’s to hoping Utah is smart enough to vote against this hack.
    But I’m not holding my breath. He will do nothing but obey church leaders. Utah loses yet again.

  • comments February 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    congratulations SENATOR Romney.

    we Utahns are so blessed to have him as our new US senator.

    i guess there needs to be an “election” first

    but, really… why bother?

  • John February 14, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    We should elect comments..If nothing is going to get accomplished, he’s your man !

    • Striker4 February 14, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      He’s got my vote lol !

  • Real Life February 14, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I will give you Mormons one thing, you are loyal to your own. You are also a very predictable bunch.

  • 42214 February 14, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    It’s the second coming of Orrin Hatch. If Romney can live till he is 95 he might be the next prophet.

  • Striker4 February 14, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    an election will be a waste of time. just go ahead and put his name on the door already

  • utahdiablo February 14, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Yawn….why bother

  • Lastdays February 15, 2018 at 7:13 am

    He still has to survive the Utah Caucus system.
    Back in 2010 Bob Bennett did not survive and failed to make it on the ballot as a current sitting Senator.
    Hopefully that stupid Count My Vote thing doesn’t get in the way and if people do their job, Romney may not even make it on the ballot.

  • JOSH DALTON February 15, 2018 at 7:39 am

    WHO CARES! WHY IS THIS NEWS! I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing this mans face plastered all over the news papers and TV. In my opinion it is disrespectful to announce that your NOT going to announce out of respect for17 people dying at the hands of another one of theses nut job millennials! We need to educate our kids on the dangers and the need for firearms. They are not toys! Guns are not cool! People embellish firearms. They walk around Utah like its the wild wild west. If this is such a safe place to live why do YOU PEOPLE have to have a gun on your hip. What are you afraid of. What do you need protection from?! Are YOU PEOPLE afraid of the 3 black people might form a gang and take over. pssfft! The Mexicans are to busy stealing YOUR jobs, they don’t have time to shoot up the place. SO WHAT ARE YOU AFRIAD OF! Firearms should be used only to hunt for food that is needed to provide for your family. You should be able to protect yourself with your fist. If the other guy did not have a fire arm, then the latter would not need one either. I was in law enforcement. i know the importance of having a firearm for protection. 9 times out of 10 its already to late once bullets start flying. Most cops will tell you they have never even shot anyone. I don’t have enough tine to express everything I want to nor the want. JUST BE HUMAN PEOPLE! GO FALCONS!

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