Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — Praising Utahns' "can-do pioneering spirit" and calling out federal dysfunction, Mitt Romney launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate in a brief video Friday.
"Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in Washington," the 2012 Republican presidential nominee says in the 2 ½-minute clip.
Romney said he decided to run for Senate to help bring Utah's values and lessons to Washington.
"Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah," he said.
Utah has balanced its budgets, while the federal government has not. Utah exports more than it imports; Washington has that backward, Romney says in the video. Utah welcomes immigrants, while Washington sends them a message of exclusion, he said.
Romney is running to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
The video shows scenes from around Utah, Romney talking to residents over breakfast at a restaurant and photos of his family. When Romney speaks to the camera, it is from the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns.
I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah's values to Washington. pic.twitter.com/TDkas6gD2p— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 16, 2018
Romney, who spent much of his professional life in Massachusetts, where he served as governor, is best known in Utah for turning around the scandal-ridden 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He now lives in an upscale neighborhood in Holladay.
In a news release, Romney said Utah’s economic and political success is a model for the nation.
“Utahns are known for hard work, innovation and our can-do pioneering spirit, he said.
Romney says in the video that if he wins, he would owe the seat to no one but the people of Utah. No donor or corporation would own his campaign or bias his vote, he said.
He concludes the video saying, "And let there be no question: I will fight for Utah."
In the coming months, Romney plans to visit each of the state’s 29 counties to talk with Utahns about their priorities, issues and concerns, according to his campaign.
Utah’s dual-track nomination process includes gathering signatures for a June primary and participating in the caucus and convention system. Romney's campaign said he plans to participate in both the signature-gathering process and the state GOP convention in April.
Three others Republicans have declared their intent to gather signatures to get on the primary election ballot, according to the state elections website.
Republican Larry Meyers, a St. George attorney running for the Senate seat, unveiled a radio ad Friday aimed "Massachusetts Mitt Romney." He is not among those who have declared intent to collect signatures.
In the ad, Meyers says Romney "threw away" an election in 2012, leading to four more years of President Barack Obama and now thinks the U.S. Senate is his "consolation prize."
"Now Romney is trying to jet set his way into Utah and buy our Senate seat," says Meyers, who describes himself as conservative. He has served on the state GOP Central Committee and as a county party officer and national delegate.
Democratic Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson has been campaigning for the seat since last summer.
Utah Democratic Party Chairwoman Daisy Thomas welcomed Romney to the race and promptly ripped into his candidacy. Democrats and "apparently leaders of his own party" have serious concerns about his record on public education, she said in a statement.
Thomas also said Romney gave some "false narratives" in his video.
"Unlike Washington, Utah is constitutionally required to have a balanced budget," she said. "Like Washington, the Utah Legislature is swirling in scandal and saturated with men who are unable to respect the voices and bodies of women."
The left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah called on Romney to release his platform.
"Unfortunately, there seems to be a perception that once Romney announced his candidacy, he was effectively anointed our next senator from Utah,” said Josh Kanter, the board's chairman. “This might give Romney reason to believe that he can breeze through the election with little to no accountability for his stances on various issues, to the detriment of an election based on ideas and policy."