Romney, Meyers, 17 others file to run for Senate

Mitt Romney smiles as he declares his candidacy for the U.S. Senate at the state elections office at the Utah Capitol, in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 15, 2018 | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – While Mitt Romney’s name may carry the most recognition, he’s found himself in the middle of a sizable pond of contenders for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch at the end of the year.

Along with Romney, who registered to run as a Republican for Senate Thursday, 11 other Republicans, four Democrats and candidates from the Independent American, Constitution and Libertarian parties, have filed to run for Senate, making for 19 candidates overall.

One of the contenders known to Southern Utah political circles is attorney Larry Meyers, of St. George, who filed for candidacy earlier this week.

Read more: St. George attorney announces run for GOP US Senate nomination

“Voters all across our state are excited to hear that I am running because they have concerns over Romney’s core beliefs,” Meyers said in a press release Monday. “They say he is not from Utah and they really do not appreciate the attacks he levied on President Trump during the campaign.”

Larry Meyers, of St. George, at the Lieutenant Governor’s Office to file his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 12, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Larry Meyers’s senate campaign, St. George News

Like other candidates poking at Romney, Meyers considers the former 2012 presidential candidate to be “a flip-flopping Massachusetts liberal” and not a real conservative.

Meyers’ campaign also released a radio ad last month claiming “Massachusetts Mitt” is eyeing Utah’s Senate seat as a “consolation prize” in the wake of “throwing away” the 2012 presidential election.

Meyers has also said he will be a senator who will support President Donald Trump’s agenda rather than stand against him as some expect Romney to.

The 70-year-old Romney is pushing back against the criticism, saying he’s working to earn every vote and emphasizing his ties to Utah, where he’s made his home after losing the 2012 presidential election.

“Almost wherever I go throughout the country, people just assume I’m from Utah,” Romney told reporters at the state Capitol after filing his paperwork.

Romney is 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 where 60 percent of the population belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Romney said he doesn’t plan to use his own money for his campaign, which he’s portrayed as a modest, local operation. He’s relying on volunteers to gather voter signatures to get on the ballot instead of relying on professional, paid workers, like many candidates do. He’s made a point to travel to 20 of Utah’s 29 counties in recent weeks in a pickup truck, which he sometimes drives himself.

Read more: News short: Romney greets Dixie State students during campaign stop | Romney greets Cedar City diners, explains why he’s running for Hatch’s senate seat

Many of those who have stepped up to challenge Romney have revived attacks he faced in his presidential campaigns, including criticism for his shifting stance on abortion and his signing of a health care law as Massachusetts governor that was used as a blueprint for former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Other Republicans running for the Senate seat:

Utah House Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Apline, Samuel Parker, Loy Brunson, Tim Jimenez, Torrey Jenkins, Jeremy Frieddaum, Stoney Fenua, Alicia Colvin, Joshua C. Lee and Abe Lincoln Brian Jenkins.

Yes, you read that last name right.

Democrats running for Senate are Jenny Wilson, Jeff Dransfield, Mitchel Vice and Larry Livingston.

Third party candidates are Tim Aalders, Constitution Party; Craig Bowden, Libertarian Party; and Reed McCandless, Independent American Party.

The Republican candidates who have filed to go through the caucus-convention will be vetted by Utah Republican Party delegates and ultimately whittled down during the party’s nominating convention in April. Candidates who didn’t file their intention to gather signatures will be eliminated at that point should they not garner the needed votes at the convention.

If Romney happens to be eliminated by the delegates, he still has the chance to appear on the primary ballot in June, provided he gathers the 28,000 signatures for required the Senate race.

Unlike Romney, Meyers has chosen not to gather signatures, but to go through the caucus-convention system only.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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

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  • Death Valley March 16, 2018 at 8:40 am

    One carpet-bagger leaving while another carpet-bagger wants to take his place.
    Oh, Utah, will you ever learn? VOTE THESE CRONIES OUT!!!!

  • Not_So_Much March 16, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Let’s see Mitt gets top billing in the St George News, but at least the local Constitutional conservative received 2nd billing. I hope voters will look at the issues and the candidates then vote wisely. Larry Meyers offers a step in the right direction.

  • Larry March 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Glad to see Romney in a nice clean, pressed suit and tie…I guess Delta Airlines finally did locate his lost Carpetbag.

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