We will know officially on Thursday whether or not Mitt Romney will run for the Senate seat in Utah, but a recent tweet may have already tipped his hand.
Romney is considering running for the sea being vacated by Orrin Hatch of Utah, and reports say he will officially jump in the race on Thursday. That decision wasn’t totally unexpected, as a recent tweet directed supporters to a page allowing them to sign on to a potential run.
The Washington Examiner first reported Romney’s plans, though the former Massachusetts governor had dropped a not-so-subtle hint on February 1, saying on Twitter that he was ‘looking forward’ to making an announcement about the race on February 15.
Included in the tweet was a link to MittRomney.com, which asked potential supporters for their information to ‘Join Team Mitt.’
While his initial roll-out will be low key, Romney is expected to address Republican grassroots supporters Friday at the Utah County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner.
Romney was always supposed to keynote the event, but will now use it as a platform to start to get his campaign message out, the Examiner said.
The 2012 GOP nominee is not expected to field much competition in the race, which is for the seat currently occupied by Sen. Orrin Hatch, an 83-year-old Republican who announced his retirement early last month.
As soon as Hatch signaled he was out, Romney changed his location on his Twitter account to Holladay, Utah, one of the two locales where he owns homes in the state.
Despite his late father being a politician in Michigan and Romney, himself, serving as governor in Massachusetts, he has a deep relationship with the state, especially because of his Mormon faith.
In December, Utah Republicans came to Romney’s defense when former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon charged that he ‘hid’ behind his religion to avoid service in Vietnam.
Bannon went on the attack after Romney criticized the ex-aide’s continued support for GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama. Moore had been accused by multiple women of preying on them, sexually, as teenagers.
With Bannon still in good graces with President Trump at that time, the episode further exposed the continued rift between Romney and the White House.
Additionally, Trump had encouraged Hatch to stay in the Senate, in hopes of maintaining an ally in the body over Romney, who could replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake as the president’s most vocal thorn in his side from the Republican Party.
While Trump had briefly considered Romney to be his secretary of state, it seems to two men never quite buried the hatchet.
Romney, in what was an unprecedented move from a former presidential nominee, inserted himself into the 2016 primary begging voters to select anybody-but-Trump.
‘And let me put it very plainly,’ he said in March 2016. ‘If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.’
Here is the tweet Romney sent to his followers.
Looking forward to making an announcement on February 15th about the Utah Senate race. https://t.co/OLXWZWREEK
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 1, 2018