Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering a 2018 Senate run in Utah and is looking to pose a challenge to President Trump from Congress’s upper chamber, according to a report from Politico.
Romney, who is the former governor of Massachusetts and ran for president in 2008 and 2012, has reportedly met with Utah’s political power class, as well as prominent donors in the state.
The former governor has attended the same events as influential Utah politicians including Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senate headed for late night vote amid standoff over lands bill Hillicon Valley: Facebook employees speak up against content decisions | Trump’s social media executive order on weak legal ground | Order divides conservatives MORE (R-Utah) and state Senate President Wayne Niederhauser (R). He has also campaigned for various candidates across the country, including Idaho Republican gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist.
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Sources close to Romney told Politico that he would be willing to play an opposing role to Trump in the Senate.
Romney, who was reportedly once on Trump’s shortlist to be secretary of State, was a prominent figure in the “Never Trump” movement during the 2016 presidential campaign and has continued to be critical of the president.
He lashed out at Trump in August, saying the president’s response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August had caused “the vast heart of America to mourn.”
The report comes as speculation continues to swirl around whether Sen. Orrin Harch (R-Utah) will retire.
The second highest ranking senator has recently denied reports that he has decided to retire to make way for Romney.
“Nothing has changed since The Atlantic published a carbon copy of this same story in April, likely with the same anonymous sources who were no more informed on the senator’s thinking than they seem to be now,” Hatch spokesman Dave Hansen told The Atlantic in October.
However, Hatch said in March that he would consider retiring if Romney ran to replace him.
“I’ve expressed interest to him,” Hatch said. “I can see why he might not want to do it, but I can also see why if he did it, it would be a great thing for America.”