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Which Utah Republican Will Replace Mitt Romney And Why Will They Be Terrible?
Oh, man, they’re gonna make us miss Mittens.
Mitt Romney announced a couple weeks ago that he’s not seeking a second term in the Senate. We wish Kyrsten Sinema was also willing to call it one and done, but that would require some self-awareness. Anyway, there’s been a predictably mad dash among Utah Republicans to fill Romney’s seat. Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson has already launched an exploratory committee and will resign his current job in November. He was set to officially announce his Senate candidacy at a Wednesday night rally.
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We don’t know much about Wilson, other than he sounds dull and probably is. He’s a real estate developer who was first elected to the Utah House in 2010. Wilson has pretty low name recognition for a high-ranking official in a relatively small state. The Wilson campaign has raised $2.2 million so far but more than half of that — $1.2 million — is his own money.
Romney said that it was time for a new generation to lead, but young Republicans are terrible (that’s been true since at least my college days). There’s also an argument that Romney was only able or even willing to defy the MAGA movement and stick it to Donald Trump because he was at the end of his political career. If he still had higher political ambitions, he might actually compromise himself and accept an endorsement from a known slimeball.
(Watching this clip again you can tell Ann Romney thinks Trump ain’t shit. She probably burned that pantsuit when she got home.)
Wilson is 54 and could serve in the Senate another six decades or so. Damon Cann, head of Utah State University’s political science department, suggests that a Senator Wilson would likely fall ideologically between Romney and Trump-coup-enabling Mike Lee.
“I think most people are expecting Brad Wilson would govern somewhat more conservatively [than Romney]. I think he would be toward the political center from where Mike Lee’s at but I think he would be more conservative than Mitt Romney has been,” Cann said.
Hold up there, Mr. Cann, Romney is pretty darn conservative — he once wore a basketball jersey over a dress shirt! Yes, he opposes violent coups like a commie, and he was willing to work across the aisle to pass center-right friendly legislation. Oh, and he voted to confirm the perfectly qualified Black lady to the Supreme Court. RINO!
It’s as if Cann is defining a “true” conservative as a reactionary loon, and he’s probably right.
Wilson already has competition for the Republican nomination. Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs directly challenged Romney when he announced back in May. He dismissed old Mittens as a “Massachusetts millionaire.” Staggs is a securities investor, but he’s already got the faux populist rhetoric down like a common JD Vance.
“The only thing I’ve seen [Romney] fight for are the Establishment, ‘wokeness,’ open borders, impeaching President Trump and putting us even deeper into debt,” Staggs declared in his launch video. Yes, Romney voted to remove Trump from office (twice!) but otherwise everything else Staggs said was bullshit.
Roosevelt Mayor Rod Bird announced his campaign last week. Based on this news release, he is possibly an AI chatbot:
“We need to get federal spending under control and get back to the basics that have made our country great. It’s time to get serious about securing our border, guarding American jobs, rescuing our constitutional rights and putting regular people ahead of special interests.”
Tim Ballard is also considering running for Romney’s seat. Ballard is founder of the supposed “anti-child-trafficking” group Operation Underground Railroad, a name he shamelessly stole from Black freedom fighters. Ballard was depicted on screen by Trump supporter Jim Caviezel in the summer hit Sound of Freedom.
Operation Underground Railroad booted Ballard over reports of sexual misconduct, which Ballard of course denies. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints publicly smacked him around and claimed he engaged in “morally unacceptable” activity.
Yeah, I think he’s running, and he’ll probably win. That’s the Republican Party Romney leaves behind.
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