He’s back!

Former Massachusetts Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for Senate Friday morning.

Romney made his announcement via campaign ad on social media:

Early last month, Utah’s senior Senator, Orrin Hatch, announced his plans to retire at the end of his current term, leaving the field wide open for Romney.

Romney should be a lock for the seat. Utah remembers Romney’s work saving the 2002 Olympics and seems willing to give him a go in the DC big house.

If his first ad is an indicator of campaign direction, Romney will likely draw contrasts between Utah and D.C., specifically and intentionally avoiding any direct criticism of Trump.

According to several reports, Trump attempted to persuade Sen. Hatch to run for an eighth term, partially to ice Romney out of a Senate seat. Romney, who’s popular in Utah, expressed interest in running for the seat in the event Hatch retired. Politico reported a few months ago:

Donald Trump is going all out to persuade seven-term Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to seek reelection — a push aimed in no small part at keeping the president’s longtime nemesis, Mitt Romney, out of the Senate.

Romney has been preparing to run for Hatch’s seat on the long-held assumption that the 83-year-old would retire. Yet Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is now refusing to rule out another campaign — a circumstance Romney’s infuriated inner circle blames squarely on the president. Their suspicions are warranted: Trump has sounded off to friends about how he doesn’t like the idea of a Sen. Romney.

The president’s mostly behind-the-scenes campaign to sway Hatch will burst into public view on Monday, when he arrives in Salt Lake City to hold a well-choreographed event designed to showcase his affection for the powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman.

Trump’s appearance is ostensibly official in purpose: He will announce his decision to reduce the size of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments, a cause that Hatch has championed. But it’s also undeniably political: to use the trappings of presidential power to get a veteran lawmaker to rethink his long anticipated plans to leave the Senate.

A New York Times report published last month indicates that Trump may be warming to the idea of a Senator Romney:

The president has had Mr. Romney on his mind. Over golf earlier this year, Mr. Trump asked Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, what he thought of the former Republican nominee. (Mr. Graham said he praised Mr. Romney and predicted he would be a solid senator.)

Mr. Romney repeatedly assailed the president during the 2016 campaign, calling Mr. Trump “a fraud,” and Mr. Trump returned the favor, stating that Mr. Romney “choked like a dog” in the 2012 race. The two had something of a rapprochement after the election when Mr. Romney was briefly considered as secretary of state, but White House advisers are uneasy about having such a well-known critic in the Senate.

This race should be fun. The conflict won’t be in the race itself (well-liked, well-funded Republican running in a solid red state isn’t much competition) but amongst the self-professed political-media elites and their previous reporting on Romney.

Romney was fabulously critical of candidate Trump, calling him a “fraud” and a “phony”, harsh words from a usually (too) kind soul. Should be a point for Romney in the eyes of the press. Buuuttttt, he’s also a Republican, bearing the scarlet R. Not to mention the fact that he once killed a woman dead by giving her cancer when he wasn’t busy stuffing women into binders.

How they press will square their love of Trump-criticism with a candidate they once bent over backward to destroy should be entertaining at the very least.


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