Romney Primary Challenger Picks Up Steam With State Party

Last week, over 60 state lawmakers in Utah endorsed State House Speaker Brad Wilson to replace Mitt Romney in the US Senate, Deseret reported.

While Wilson has yet to formally announce his campaign, he established an exploratory committee in April.

In a statement last week, Wilson said he was “encouraged” by the support of Republican leaders in the state and said Utah must have a “bold, conservative fighter” in the Senate.

As yet, Senator Romney has not said whether he will seek reelection in 2024. However, if he does make it official, his campaign is ready. In April, Romney filed a “statement of candidacy” with the FEC that allowed him to begin raising money.

Romney told CNN’s Manu Raju in May that he is in no hurry to make a decision. The senator noted that when he first ran in 2018, he did not announce his candidacy until February of that year, telling Raju that he may do the same thing in 2024.

A June Deseret poll found that 52 percent of Utah voters approved of the job Romney is doing in the Senate. However, when asked if Romney should run again in 2024, only 47 percent said yes while the majority, 51 percent, said no.

This may be one reason more than 60 Utah state lawmakers, including three-quarters of the Republicans in the state House and two-thirds of the Republicans in the state Senate have endorsed Wilson.

State House majority leader Mike Schultz, who has worked with Wilson for nine years, described him as “the conservative champion we need in the US Senate.”

State Senate President Stuart Adams said that as speaker of the state House, Wilson has delivered “victories for conservative principles” in Utah.

If Wilson does enter the primary, he will also face Republican Trent Staggs, the mayor of Riverton. Staggs is endorsed by the Utah Republican Veterans and the Utah Fraternal Order of Police.