Despite widespread recognition and national media attention; former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will face a GOP primary challenger in the upcoming Utah Senate race; delivering a major roadblock towards his return to the political arena.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Republican party delegated “forced” Romney into a primary election against state Representative Mike Kennedy.
“In fact, Kennedy — a doctor and lawyer — finished in first place at the convention with 51 percent of the vote to Romney’s 49 percent. The former GOP presidential nominee fell far short of the 60 percent needed to clinch the nomination outright,” writes the Tribune.
The upcoming race looked like a lock for Romney, who hopes to fill the seat left vacant by outgoing Sen. Orrin Hatch.
The former GOP candidate gathered nearly 30,000 signatures ahead of the convention with the hopes of avoiding a primary fight against fellow conservatives.
“I know there were many people who were not enthusiastic about someone gathering signatures,” Romney said, adding it “was right for me. I’m glad I did it that way.”
MITT’S ALL-IN: Romney RETURNS in RUN for US SENATE
Former presidential hopeful and Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney announced his return to the political arena Friday morning, officially kicking off his bid to replace outgoing Orrin Hatch as Utah’s next Senator.
Romney unveiled his Senate bid on social media with a two-minute long campaign video, claiming he was running to bring “Utah’s values to Washington.”
I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah's values to Washington. pic.twitter.com/TDkas6gD2p
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 16, 2018
“I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah’s values and Utah’s lessons to Washington,” he said. “Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah.”
If elected, he would replace 83-year old Sen. Hatch; setting the stage for a high-stakes showdown between the former GOP presidential candidate and the Commander-in-Chief -whom Romney has repeatedly criticized as a “phony” and a “fraud.”
RYAN RETIRES: Paul Ryan WILL NOT Seek Re-election in 2018
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will not run for re-election in 2018 multiple sources have told Fox News; stunning Washington and kick-starting a party-wide power struggle over who will replace the outgoing GOP leader.
According to inside sources -first reported in Axios– Rep. Ryan reportedly feels the recently passed GOP tax cuts were the culmination of his Speakership and is planning a transition into private life over the next year.
The Speaker also came under fire weeks ago from President Trump and fellow Republicans over his $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package.
Paul Ryan was catapulted into the national spotlight when he ran alongside GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 race for the White House. He has served as Speaker of the House of Representatives since 2015.
The Speaker’s decision places even greater importance on the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, with both Democrats and Republicans vying to control the House and Senate.
Rep. Ryan is expected to announce his decision to leave Congress as early as Wednesday.