Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is mulling plans to run for re-election despite growing pro-Trump sentiment in the state.
Romney, 76, won the Republican primary and election in a landslide victory in 2018, but a 2024 re-election run would likely come with a grueling GOP primary battle. Former President Donald Trump has made frequent attacks against the moderate Republican in recent years, making him an outsider in the Republican Party.
“I’ll make my own decision based upon my assessment of what I would be able to accomplish in the second term,” Romney told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I’m wrong. . . . You get to a point in life where it’s not like sitting alone in high school in the cafeteria.”
While Romney has filed the paperwork to allow him to run, he has put little to no effort into fundraising. He pulled in less than $22,000 in individual donations in the 2nd quarter of this year.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, acknowledged that Romney has a potential uphill battle to re-election, despite having a strong base of support in the state.
“There’s a strong Romney-support wing and a strong group that does not support him right now,” Cox told WSJ. “He says he can win, and I think there’s a path for him to win. But it will certainly be harder this time.”
Cox, like Romney, is another Republican who has found himself at odds with Trump in recent years. The governor asserted last week that he does not believe Trump can win a general election against President Biden.
If Romney runs, his most viable Republican primary opponent is Utah state House speaker Brad Wilson. Wilson is a staunch Trump ally who filed a resolution “paying tribute” to the former president in February 2020, just weeks after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Wilson, who has only established an exploratory committee and has yet to announce his candidacy, raised more than $1 million between April and July. Allies of the speaker say he is holding off on a formal announcement until Romney makes a decision.
Wilson’s exploratory committee website touts him as “pragmatic and conservative” and a lifelong Utah resident. “Brad is exploring a run for the U.S. Senate in 2024 and knows Utahns deserve a bold, proven, and conservative fighter to represent them and their values in our nation’s capital,” the site said.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.
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