The Latest: Romney talks gun violence in Utah GOP speech

February 17, 2018

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, right, poses for a photo as he greets students at Utah Valley University, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Orem, Utah. The 2012 Republican presidential candidate plans to bid for the seat being vacated by retiring seven-term Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on Mitt Romney’s run for a Utah Senate seat (all times local):

8:55 p.m.

Mitt Romney used his first big speech as a Utah Senate candidate to call for action to prevent another deadly mass shooting like the one at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.

The former GOP presidential candidate said it’s “wrong and unacceptable for children in our schools to fear for their lives” and that shootings will keep happening unless action is taken to prevent them.

Romney made the remarks at a speech Friday night before core members of Utah’s Republican Party at a party fundraising dinner in Provo.

Romney says he would support an effort in Congress to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers but said states will have to come up with solutions like enhanced school security and special teams that intervene with children who may be having emotional issues.


6:15 p.m.

Mitt Romney says he has a cordial relationship with President Donald Trump but would continue to speak out when he disagrees with the president if elected to the U.S. Senate seat in Utah currently held by retiring Orrin Hatch.

Romney told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday that he is on the same page policy-wise with the president but he’ll be vocal if Trump does something he takes exception to.

Romney says he doesn’t intend to run for president again but says he’d be interested in running for re-election if he wins Utah’s Senate seat this November.

He says he first considered running for the seat when Hatch gave him a memo in early 2017 suggesting Romney run to replace him.

Romney says the memo “was a complete surprise,” but he decided that he can fight for Utah more than the average junior senator could and feels that the country needs people of “sober judgment” in Washington.


3:10 p.m.

Republican Mitt Romney is shaking hands and taking selfies with excited college students as he starts collecting voter signatures for his Utah Senate campaign.

The 2012 presidential candidate was swarmed by excited students Friday afternoon at Utah Valley University in the city of Orem.

Hours after making his campaign announcement early Friday morning, Romney filed paperwork with Utah’s elections office allowing him to start collecting the signatures of 28,000 registered Republicans to earn a spot on a June primary ballot.

Freshman student Cienna Dorny signed Romney’s petition and snapped a picture on her iPhone of her posing with the candidate.

Dorny, a registered Republican, says Romney “has his head on straight” and she’s excited to see what he can do for Utah.


6:25 a.m.

Republican Mitt Romney is trying for a political comeback as he launches a Senate campaign in Utah.

The former presidential nominee made his campaign official Friday in an online video after a delaying his launch following a deadly shooting at a Florida high school.

Romney is considered a heavy favorite for the Senate seat held by Orrin Hatch. The longtime Republican senator is retiring.

Romney has been a persistent critic of President Donald Trump, but those close to Romney say he’ll focus his campaign instead on Utah.

They say Romney will suggest Washington has much to learn from the state the former Massachusetts governor now calls home. Romney is well-known in Utah for having managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. His 2012 presidential bid was lost to incumbent Barack Obama.

Update hourly