Romney faces tough GOP crowd in Utah bid for US Senate seat

Mitt Romney stands near cows during a tour of Gibson's Green Acres Dairy in Ogden, Utah, Feb. 16, 2018. Romney is gearing up for arguably the biggest challenge of his Senate campaign: a Utah Republican party convention where he'll have to face down nearly a dozen contenders in front of a far-right-leaning audience. | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mitt Romney faces an intriguing hurdle in his bid to be the U.S. senator from Utah this weekend when he seeks the blessing of far-right leaning delegates at the state convention against a field of 11 competitors.

Mitt Romney speaks with a group during a breakfast campaign stop in Green River, Utah, March 3, 2018 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

Romney already has collected enough signatures to advance to a GOP primary bid regardless of what party stalwarts do at the convention. A win would clear a path to victory in conservative Utah by letting him bypass a primary altogether.

But a loss would be an embarrassing stumble for the man seen as the likely successor to retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Romney needs to win over skeptics among several thousand delegates who question his dedication to the state — he moved there after losing the 2012 presidential race — and some are wary of his criticism of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I think it’s very hard to predict what will happen at a convention,” Romney told The Associated Press this week, fresh off two months of campaigning across the state. “I hope I do well, I don’t worry about alternatives. We take what happens as it comes.”

Larry Meyers, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, shakes hands with a campaign supporter outside of the 5th District Courthouse, St. George, Utah, March 19, 2018 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Romney is emphasizing his local connections and intent to use his clout to help Utah, where he’s known for his role in turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics and becoming the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party.

Democrats will choose their nominee next weekend, but any Republican would be overwhelmingly favored in November.

Romney’s competitors for the nomination are largely political unknowns who acknowledge the David-vs-Goliath nature of the contest, but insist he shouldn’t get an automatic pass from Republicans.

Some delegates agree.

Linda Spencer, 59, of Orem, said she leans libertarian and carefully reviewed each candidate before settling on St. George attorney Larry Meyers as her favorite. “He is just a humble, down-to-earth, honest person,” she said.

Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, speaks on the House floor during a special session at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 18, 2018. Kennedy, who has served in the Legislature since 2013, is running for U.S. Senate. | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

She especially likes his strong support for Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose 2014 armed standoff with federal agents over grazing fees made him a key figure in the debate over control of public lands.

Others in the crowded field include state Rep. Mike Kennedy, a doctor and lawyer from Alpine who has served in the Legislature since 2013. Kennedy said in a statement he’s focused on reducing the national debt and he understands what it’s like to balance a budget and raise a family in Utah.

Some Romney critics echo attacks he faced when he ran for president, including his shifting abortion stance and a health care law he signed as Massachusetts governor that was used as a blueprint for President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Others have questioned the depth of his ties to Utah and his criticism of Trump, who he called a “con man” and a “phony” during the 2016 race. Sam Parker, a banker, has said he’s running because he is worried Romney wouldn’t be a strong, conservative ally for Trump.

Romney and Trump have made peace since the president took office, and he has endorsed Romney’s bid to succeed Hatch.

Written by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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15 Comments

  • John April 20, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Vote Larry Meyers ! Mitt is a true RINO turncoat!

    • Striker4 April 21, 2018 at 3:51 am

      Johnboy..is that what you have printed on your pretty pink panties ?

      • John April 21, 2018 at 10:53 am

        Striker, you are probably a nice guy. Too bad you are a clueless liberal !

  • PlanetU April 20, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Larry Meyers cares nothing about his neighbors or neighborhood so why would I vote for him? His property should be condemned AND the poor horse, don’t even get me started! Why would someone live like that? Maybe he’s not a very good attorney? Clean it up!

    • mshaw April 21, 2018 at 1:07 am

      Any photos of his house or horse by chance?

    • John April 21, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Romney does not care about anybody but himself!

  • Close The Borders April 20, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Romney does not give a damn about Utah! He just wants to get elected so he can get a taxpayer retirement fund! He did nothing for Mass. when he was governor! Wake up Utah! He is playin’ you!

    • Striker4 April 21, 2018 at 3:54 am

      Utah will do what the LDS leaders demand… and that’s how it’s always been and always will be

    • comments April 21, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      LOL!!! Romney is a billionaire and you think he’s in it for some kind of gov’t pension. pffffff, that would be nickels and dimes to him.

  • comments April 21, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    The mormon majority in this state is going to overwhelmingly vote for Mittens, and he will be your new senator. It’s like the pipeline, you people are going to get it whether you like it or not!

  • John April 21, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    PU<Matthew 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

  • PlanetU April 21, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    “Don’t like it move,” so original. That’s what the Indians said when the mormons invaded their territory.

    As for pics of the sh*thole Larry Meyers lives in, check out the crappiest house and “landscape” right on the highway 18 – Winchester Hill with a sad white horse.

    • John April 21, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      PU<Matthew 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

      • John April 21, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        And the pics of your house? Don’t like it , MOVE!

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