Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Will Romney Run?

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is up in 2024. Will he run again? Normally, there isn't much of an issue about an incumbent Republican running for reelection in a deep red state unless he is on the wrong side of 90. Romney is 76, so his reelection should be a slam dunk, no? Well, it's not. The problem is his lack of Trumpiness. If he runs, he is almost certain to have one or more primary opponents. He doesn't have to decide now. The filing deadline is in March 2024, and he could delay until the last day to keep his potential opponents in uncertainty, but they might just file anyway and see how it develops. Romney has only $1.6 million cash on hand, but he could drop $30 million of his own money into the race if need be.

For Romney, the big question is "Does he want to be remembered as the guy who lost the presidential race in 2012 and then lost a Republican primary in 2024?" Many sources say he doesn't. One advantage of not running for reelection is that he could spend the next 15 months attacking Donald Trump and doing everything he can to see him not be elected president, and let the chips fall where they may. As a candidate, that would likely be fatal, even in Utah, where Trump is not wildly popular by red-state standards.

If Romney decides to run, his biggest opponent is likely to be state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R). He has formed an exploratory committee and is raising money. If more Republicans enter the race, Romney's chances go up because the anti-Romney vote might splinter. Utah doesn't have runoffs. The candidate with the most votes gets the nomination. If Romney declines to run, the field will be gigantic. Former representative Jason Chaffetz and Gov. Spencer Cox (R-UT) would probably jump in, as well as Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and others. (V)

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