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The Latest: Romney debates opponent Mike Kennedy for Senate

May 30, 2018
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FILE - This March 1, 2018 file photo shows Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, speaking during news conference at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. Mitt Romney is heading into a debate against Republican state lawmaker Kennedy, who forced him into a primary in the race for a Utah Senate seat. The contest Tuesday evening, May 29, pits heavily favored former presidential contender Romney against Kennedy, a conservative doctor and lawyer who won with state party stalwarts after calling for change in Washington. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a debate in the race for Utah Senate (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Both Mitt Romney and his opponent for a Utah Senate seat are aligning themselves with President Donald Trump on several issues, though they’re clashing over one of Romney’s outspoken tweets.

State lawmaker Mike Kennedy said during a debate Tuesday that Romney’s past critiques of Trump and a pastor he called a religious bigot show he doesn’t work well with others.

Romney said he calls things like he sees them and strongly defended the tweet about a pastor who called Mormonism “heresy from the pit of hell.”

The two men also differed on banning bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic fully automatic ones. Romney supports a ban while Kennedy says he wants to focus mental health.

They’re both vying for the seat open with the retirement of Sen. Orrin Hatch after 40 years.

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9 a.m.

Mitt Romney is heading into a debate against Republican state lawmaker Mike Kennedy, who forced him into a primary in the race for a Utah Senate seat.

The Tuesday-night contest pits the heavily favored former presidential contender against a conservative doctor and lawyer who won with state party stalwarts after calling for change in Washington.

Romney says his high political profile would give Utah outsize clout in Washington, though he’s been attacked from the right for his past criticism of President Donald Trump. That’s not necessarily a huge liability in Utah, where the president’s brash style doesn’t always go over well.

Kennedy says he’s focused on reducing the national debt and presents a homegrown alternative to Romney, who moved to the state after his failed 2012 presidential run.

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