As expected, Mitt Romney beat his four competitors for Utah’s open senate seat gaining 59% of the votes. Since winning the GOP nomination in June, Romney was the heavy front-runner for taking the seat of Rep. Orrin Hatch, who did seek re-election.
In 2014, under suspicions that he would retire from politics, the former Massachusetts governor moved to Utah. When it was announced that Hatch would not continue a political career after 2018, Romney quickly joined the race.
In an open letter to the Salt Lake Tribune, Romney expressed some admiration for the Trump administration’s decisions on corporate tax codes, reduction of regulations and the restoration of multiple use public land in Utah. Romney wrote that he will support Trump’s policies if they seem to benefit Utah and the U.S. Despite supporting these policies, Romney was also critical of how Trump dealt with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the tariffs imposed on partner nations.
Overall, Romney wrote that he will continue to speak out when the president says something “divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.” Those who remain silent “tacitly consent to the posture of the captain.” By being both openly critical and supportive of the Trump administration, Romney hopes to be a trustworthy “straight shooter.”
Benjy Applebaum, a Weinberg senior, expressed uncertainty that a Romney senatorship will achieve much.
“Well, he’s better than Hatch,” he said, “I’ll be curious to see what stance he takes on Trump.” Despite this slightest sense of optimistic curiosity, Applebaum does not believe much will change. “I bet he’ll be a pretty normal republican senator, but maybe not as extreme as others.”
Some students expressed confusion about Romney campaigning in Utah.
“I can’t say that I really have thought about him since 2012.” said McCormick Katherine Steiner. “I think it’s weird that he ran for a position in Utah considering he was governor of Massachusetts. It’s weird that he’s switching states like that.”
From calling Trump a “fraud” and “phony” during the 2016 presidential elections to praising some of the President’s recent policies, it is unknown how Romney’s presence in Washington will affect policy.
Humbled by the support and trust of Utahns. I endeavor to represent you with dignity, integrity, and in a manner that will make you proud. pic.twitter.com/sVARvsIlRC— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 7, 2018