There's a good chance Mitt Romney will be adding "Senator" to the front of his name in the near future. The former governor and presidential candidate formally announced that he's running for the seat being vacated by Orrin Hatch, and the move makes him the "instant front-runner" given his popularity in the state, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. A poll conducted by the newspaper in January suggested that he would win easily. Romney announced with a video, saying he wanted to "bring Utah's values and Utah's lessons to Washington." Romney has previously been a vocal critic of President Trump, but CNN notes that he did not go after the president in the video. He did, however say that Utah "welcomes legal immigrants" while "Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion."
Romney added that, "on Utah's Capitol Hill, people treat one another with respect." Still, Politico expects that Romney will avoid running as an anti-Trump candidate and will instead keep the campaign "hyperlocal." The state's GOP chief hit Romney on that general topic earlier this week, asserting that "a lot of Utahns see him as a carpetbagger" and adding, "He doesn’t buy his groceries here, he hasn’t raised his kids here." However, Rob Anderson later apologized for the remarks, and Romney has the support of the state's top leaders, including GOP Gov. Gary Herbert. (A Romney victory could change the Senate math if he joins with Democrats to vote against the Trump agenda on certain issues.)