Romney launches bid for Utah Senate seat

2012 presidential candidate will attempt to succeed retiring Republican Senator Orrin Hatch.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday launched his bid for a Utah Senate seat, as he attempts to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

"I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah's values and Utah's lessons to Washington. Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah," he said in an online video, according to The Hill.

"Given all that America faces, we feel that this is the right time to serve our state and our country," added Romney.

In the announcement video, which included sweeping footage of snow-covered Utah mountains, Romney pledged to be an independent voice in the Senate with a statement that could be interpreted as a nod to his detractors that have questioned his commitment to Utah, considering he served as the governor of Massachusetts and grew up in Michigan.

"If you give me this opportunity, I will owe the Senate seat to no one but the people of Utah. No donor, no corporation will own my campaign or bias my vote. And let there be no question — I will fight for Utah," he added.

Romney is considered a virtual lock for the Senate seat. He is not expected to pull a serious primary challenger and polls have him defeating the top Democrat in the race, Salt Lake City councilwoman Jenny Wilson, handily.

Romney initially planned to announce his bid on Thursday but delayed the news due to the tragic shooting at a Florida high school.

Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama, has a complicated relationship with President Donald Trump.

Trump has been a longtime Romney critic despite offering a 2012 presidential endorsement. Romney has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump's rhetoric and policies, and called on Republicans to block Trump's path to the presidency when he was running.

"Here's what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University," Romney said in a March 2016 speech. "He's playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat."

After Trump was elected, however, Romney was under consideration for the post of Secretary of State, which was eventually given to Rex Tillerson.

Romney has continued to criticize the President. After Trump blamed "both sides" for inciting deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer, Romney said Trump's remarks "caused racists to rejoice."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)