Mitt Romney’s much-anticipated comeback is the focal point of Tuesday’s Senate primary. Romney has made headlines in recent weeks for softening his position toward President Donald Trump, who he’s previously slammed as a “con man” and a “fake.”
The former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee is widely expected to sail to victory on Tuesday.
The state’s polls close at 8 pm Mountain Time. Live results are below, powered by Decision Desk.
Utah Senate race: Mitt Romney is expected to make a triumphant return
Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch all but appointed Mitt Romney to be his successor last year, saying he’d only retire if Romney said he’d run. Now, Romney looks set to easily take the Republican primary Tuesday, with polling showing him more than 40 points above his competitor, state Rep. Mike Kennedy.
It’s notable, however, that Romney didn’t win the Republican Senate nomination outright. Utah has a weird system where candidates are first voted on in a state party convention; Kennedy, who has tried to paint Romney as a Massachusetts “carpet-bagger,” actually beat Romney in two rounds of voting among delegates at the Utah Republican Party’s state convention. Even so, Romney, a Mormon political leader, has deep ties to the state, and is “royalty” for many, Utah’s Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox told Vox.
Utah is a uniquely red state. It has both an anti-establishment streak that elected Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and strong establishment ties, which Hatch, and Romney, largely represent. The voters have no patience for Trump’s Twitter antics or “locker room talk” — there was even a slight decline in Mormons affiliating with the Republican Party during Trump’s nomination.
That said, it remains solidly red.