An undeniably controversial figure in some Republican circles, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said in a recent interview that he is not at all certain he will run for re-election to his current seat, fueling speculation that he could either head toward retirement or seek a different office altogether, as Fox News reports.
In conversation with Politico, Romney expressed utmost confidence in his ability to prevail, should he decide to run for the Senate again, but stopped short of saying that was his intention.
“I haven't made a decision, finally,” the former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate explained. “And probably won't do that anytime in the immediate future.”
Holding little back in terms of where he pegs his chances of success in a 2024 contest, however, Romney added that winning is “not a question in my mind,” noting that he has come out on top in the past when faced with what appeared to be shaky political prospects.
“I've faced long odds: Getting the [presidential] nomination in 2012 was a long shot, becoming a Republican governor in one of the most liberal states in America, Massachusetts,” Romney said.
In terms of a re-election campaign for the Senate seat in Utah, the “long odds” to which Romney may be referring likely relate to the firestorm he caused last year among conservatives in his state by voting to convict former President Donald Trump on impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives.
As The Hill reported in May of 2021, the Weber County, Utah Republican Party went so far as to censure Romney by passing a resolution that held Romney accountable for approving of a process that “denied the President due process, allowed falsified evidence, did not provide adequate time for an investigation, and did not follow the U.S. Constitution which states a President may only be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Romney's actions in supporting the conviction of a former president in the absence of “sufficient evidence” was “both unjust and unethical,” according to the resolution, words that represented a searing indictment from Republicans in the state's fourth most-populous county.
A similar censure resolution against Romney was brought for a vote by the Utah state Republican Party in May of the same year but was ultimately narrowly defeated by a vote of 711-798, as the Washington Examiner noted at the time.
During the party's organizing convention, at which the censure vote was held, Romney was showered with a chorus of boos that was so loud and so enduring, he had to pause his remarks and wait for calm, as CNN reported.
Delegate Don Guymon suggested that even though the resolution did not pass, the close margin by which it failed indicated a real “turn of the tide” against Romney across the state, though whether that sentiment persists to this day in an appreciable way is unclear.
As Fox News recently noted, back in April, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich opined that he was far from convinced that Romney would prevail in a statewide contest in Utah, in part because he voiced support for President Joe Biden's nomination of then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court, suggesting that he may have his sights set elsewhere.
“I wouldn't be surprised to see Romney run in the Republican primary,” Gingrich said. “I think he's more likely to run for president than for re-election in the Senate. I think he's more likely to run for president than for re-election in the Senate. It's a free country, I think he has every right to do what he thinks is best, but I think you clearly see Massachusetts values in a Utah senator. And I think that's probably not sustainable, and he can't get re-elected.
That said, there seems to be little doubt in Romney's mind that he has the goods to pull out yet another victory in the next cycle, having boldly declared, “I'm convinced that if I run, I win.”