Romney’s Senate bid to mark latest campaign over 2 decades
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mitt Romney’s expected run for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah will be his latest bid for public office since he first jumped into politics more than 20 years ago.
Romney had planned to announce his candidacy Thursday but said Wednesday night on Twitter that he would delay it because of the deadly school shooting in Florida. It wasn’t clear when he would reschedule.
The former businessman, who is expected to be a heavy favorite in the Utah race, has endured more setbacks than victories since he launched his political journey in the early 1990s, following in the footsteps of his parents who ran decades earlier for governor, president and a U.S. Senate seat in Michigan.
A look at Romney’s campaigns through the years:
U.S. SENATE IN MASSACHUSETTS, 1994
What happened: Romney took leave from his private equity firm to challenge Ted Kennedy for the Massachusetts seat that the Democrat held at that point for more than three decades. Romney, running as a Republican in a blue state, supported abortion rights and gun control measures and said he would offer more effective leadership on gay rights issues than Kennedy. Romney lost, 58 percent to 41 percent, but won more of the vote than any other Republican who challenged Kennedy in his 40 years in Senate.
MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR, 2002
What happened: Coming off his successful turnaround of Salt Lake City’s scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Olympics, Romney returned to Massachusetts and edged acting Gov. Jane Swift out of the Republican race for governor. Romney, positioning himself as moderate and highlighting his business experience, defeated Democrat Shannon O’Brien, 50 percent to 45 percent. He served four years and signed health care reform into law designed to guarantee virtually all state residents access to insurance.
Result: Lost in GOP presidential primary.
What happened: After his stint as governor, Romney set his sights on higher office and jumped into a crowded GOP field of presidential contenders. He faced apprehension from some conservative and evangelical Christians over his Mormon faith and past support for abortion rights. Romney dropped out of the primary race in February 2008 as Arizona Sen. John McCain swept more states.
Result: Won GOP presidential primary, but lost general election.
What happened: Romney regrouped after his 2008 campaign and re-emerged as a front-runner in the 2012 Republican presidential race. Stressing his business acumen and staying critical of President Barack Obama, Romney became his party’s nominee but lost in November as voters sent Obama back for a second term.
U.S. SENATE IN UTAH, 2018
Result: To be determined.
What happened: Romney has decided to get back into politics, planning to launch his run for the Utah seat held by longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch, who’s retiring. The 70-year-old Romney is a heavy favorite to win and keep the seat in Republican hands. He is one of the most famous Mormons and is widely respected in Utah, which is heavily Mormon and home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His work salvaging the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City also bolstered his reputation in the state, where he moved after losing the 2012 presidential election. The Senate run comes after Romney flirted with joining the GOP presidential primary in 2016 amid Republican concerns about Trump becoming the front-runner.