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Mitt Romney Fails to Get Utah Senate Nomination

He'll now face a primary for Orrin Hatch's seat after a contentious GOP nominating convention
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2018 6:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mitt Romney did anything but cruise to the Republican nomination for Orrin Hatch's Utah Senate seat on Saturday in what CNN calls "a wild and raucous day of voting" at the state's nominating convention. Romney, among a dozen Republicans seeking Hatch's seat, was unable to secure 60% of the votes and thus the nomination; on the second round of voting, state representative Mark Kennedy came out on top with 50.88%, with Romney nipping at his heels with 49.12%. The two will now face off in a primary on June 26; it will be the first such primary since 2010, notes the Washington Post, and sets up something of a David-vs.-Goliath race, as Romney has raised $1.68 million to Kennedy's $289,000.

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Romney has President Trump's endorsement, despite being a vocal Trump critic during the 2016 campaign, but it's not clear if that's going to be a two-way street in 2020. "As a person of political experience, if I endorse someone, I'll want to know what's in it for Utah and what help would he provide for us on key priorities in Utah," he said Saturday. The former Massachusetts governor is also being painted by Kennedy as a carpetbagger. (Read more Mitt Romney stories.)

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