Utah Republican chairman blasts Romney Senate bid

Rob Anderson says Romney’s run drove conservatives out of the race.

Mitt Romney
Pacific Press | Getty Images

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Just ahead of Mitt Romney’s Thursday campaign announcement, the Utah Republican Party chairman lambasted Romney’s anticipated Senate run, complaining that Romney is essentially carpet-bagging and preventing better candidates with stronger Utah ties from running.

“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,” Rob Anderson said in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 Republican nominee for president, is expected to launch his campaign for the Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, via social media tomorrow. He became a resident of Utah in 2013 and owns a mansion in Holladay. On the day that Sen. Hatch officially announced his retirement, Romney changed the location on his Twitter bio from “Massachusetts” to “Holladay, Utah,” fueling speculation that he would announce for Senate and opening himself to criticism for carpet-bagging to win an easy Senate seat.

To be clear, it would be an easy win for Romney, who benefits from nearly universal name recognition in Utah and has a high favorability there. The formidability of Romney’s candidacy has scared off several “good, conservative people,” Anderson told the Tribune.

“Nobody wants to go out there like David and Goliath and get defeated by the Romney machine,” he said.

Mr. Anderson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whom he had in mind from Conservative Review.

In November, Utah Republican Boyd Matheson, president of the Sutherland Institute and former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, declined to run for Senate. His potential candidacy excited many conservatives, and his decision not to run may reflect how effectively Romney cleared the field.

Anderson expressed concerned that Romney’s past criticism of Trump could prove an obstacle to accomplishing the Republican agenda in Washington, D.C., should he be elected senator.

“He has never been a Trump supporter,” Anderson said. “I just want somebody to support the party platforms.”

Conservatives ought to have several reservations about Romney’s candidacy, to say the least. Consider, for example, how Republicans already broke their long-term promise to repeal Obamacare, and Mitt Romney is the grandfather of government-run health care. How, exactly, is Romney going to work to repeal a law based on the signature legislative accomplishment of his gubernatorial administration in Massachusetts?

Further, Romney seldom takes an opportunity to weigh in on social media in support of conservative causes, but he is frequently a critic of President Trump. As Congress has abandoned fiscal sanity, as the Senate considers an immigration deal that codifies President Obama’s illegal amnesty, Romney has used his platform to attack Trump rather than address issues that matter to conservatives.

Utah conservatives must ask themselves: Is Romney the candidate best suited to represent them in the United States Senate? And for those wondering if he can be defeated in the primary, they ought to remember that David beat Goliath.


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Author: Chris Pandolfo

Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.