Mitt Romney, Utah’s junior Senator, announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection in 2024. The 76-year-old was elected in 2018 after stints as Governor of Massachusetts (2003 – 2007) and Presidential candidate in 2008 (becoming the GOP’s nominee in 2012).
Romney, who has always been in the moderate party, famously clashed during the 2016 election with former President Donald Trump. He delivered a speech that was highly critical on March 3, 2016, urging Republicans to select a candidate other than Trump. After Trump’s victory in November, Romney is said to have pushed for the position of Secretary of State, which was ultimately given to Rex Tillerson. Romney voted against his fellow Republican Senators in 2020 and convicted Trump after the first impeachment. In 2021, he was joined by 5 other Republicans who voted to convict Trump following the second impeachment.
Romney announced his decision in a social media video:
My message to Utahns on my Senate reelection plan: pic.twitter.com/kgbsfIxMeR
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 13, 2023
In the two-and-a-half-minute video, Romney touted his own achievements while acknowledging that he’d be in his mid-80s at the end of another term, were he to seek one. He stressed the need for new leaders and noted that “They are the ones who will make the decisions which will shape the future world in which they will live.” He also criticized both former President Trump and President Biden:
Contrary to many expectations, I really enjoy working in the Senate. In the last few years, I have had a lot of success, having been able to lead and negotiate a bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a comprehensive China Strategy Process, religious freedom protections, a compromise on gun safety laws, the Electoral Count Act Reform, and emergency funding for COVID.
I also helped secure funding for key Utah priorities including funding for Hill Air Force Base, its program to modernize Utah’s nuclear deterrent as well as funding to prevent wildfires, for rural broadband, for the removal of uranium from Moab, and for expansion and restoration of highway and transit infrastructure.
I have spent the last 25 years working in some form of public service. By the time I finish another term, I’ll be in my late 80s. It’s about time we had a new generation. These are the people who will have to make the decisions that will determine the world in which they will live.
We face three critical issues: the mounting national debt; climate change; and the ambitious autocrats in Russia and China. Both President Biden and former President Trump do not lead their parties to address these issues. Both men refuse to discuss entitlements when it comes to deficits and debt. They know they represent two-thirds or federal spending. Donald Trump claims global warming is a hoax. President Biden proposes feel-good solutions that have no impact on the climate. In China, President Biden invests less in the military and President Trump invests less in our alliances. Politics can impede solutions to these problems. The next generation must lead America to the next level of global leadership.
Although I am not running for reelection I will not retire from the fight. I will be your United States Senator until January 2025. I’ll continue to work on these issues and others, and I’ll promote our state’s many priorities. In this endeavor, I am looking forward to working together with you as well as with people across our state and country. I am truly honored to serve Utah and this country. Thank you for the opportunity.
Trent Staggs, the Mayor of Riverton in Utah, and Brad Wilson, the Speaker of the Utah House, have both declared their candidacy for the position.
Staggs gave his opinion on Romney’s tweets:
My message will not change. Thank you for stepping aside, Senator Romney. Onward to ensure that Utah has the America First, small government champion they deserve, and I intend to be that.
— Mayor Trent Staggs (@MayorStaggs) September 13, 2023
Staggs was interviewed by Neil McCabe in late July. He will be responding to our questions shortly.