Earlier this year, Kemberlee blogged about former Massachusetts governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney announcing his Senate run in Utah.  Romney is running to fill the Utah Senate seat being vacated by Senator Orrin Hatch (R).

He failed to secure the Republican nomination yesterday and will now run in Utah’s June primary against Utah state representative Mike Kennedy.

In order to secure the nomination, a candidate needed to achieve 60% of the vote at Utah’s state Republican convention.  No one hit that threshold.  Kennedy beat Romney 50.88%-49.12%, so they will face off in June’s primary.

CNN reports:

Mitt Romney did not win the Utah Republican Party’s nomination on Saturday, meaning he must compete in a June primary election as he seeks to replace retiring US Sen. Orrin Hatch.

After a wild and raucous day of voting at the Utah GOP convention, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee was unable to win the 60% that he needed to head to the November ballot unopposed. When none of the 12 candidates were able to cross that threshold, the party continued with successive rounds of caucus voting until one candidate reached 40%.

On the second round of voting, Utah state representative Mike Kennedy emerged in the lead with 50.88%. Romney came in a close second with 49.12%.

Romney and Kennedy will now compete in a primary set for June 26.

Romney secured his spot on the ballot with a signature drive, a move he acknowledged may have hurt him at the convention.

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Romney had previously secured his spot on the ballot by collecting 28,000 voter signatures, but he said on Saturday that the choice was partly to blame for his loss.

Gathering signatures is unpopular among many conservative delegates in the state who say it dilutes their ability to choose a candidate. The issue prompted hours of debate, shouting and booing at the convention.

The convention also contended with Romney’s well-known disdain for and criticism of President Trump.  Meanwhile, Romney’s GOP primary opponent has positioned himself as the underdog fighting against the “Romney machine.”

The New York Times continues:

At the convention, Mr. Romney faced 11 other candidates, mostly political newcomers who questioned his criticism of President Trump and the depth of his ties to Utah. He had spent two months on the campaign trail visiting dairy farms, taking photos with college students and making stump speeches in small towns.

“Some people I’ve spoken with have said this is a David vs. Goliath race, but they’re wrong,” Mr. Romney said in his speech. “I’m not Goliath. Washington, D.C., is Goliath.”

Mr. Kennedy, a doctor and lawyer who has been a state lawmaker since 2013, received applause from the crowd as he criticized the national debt, Common Core education standards and President Barack Obama’s health care law. He framed himself as an underdog taking on the “Romney machine.”

Watch the report:


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