Mitt Romney releases ad for Utah Senate run

Mitt Romney said in a video announcement Friday that he will run for the US Senate from Utah, setting out on a glide path to Washington where he will likely play a central role driving the direction of the fractious Republican Party.

Posted: Feb 19, 2018 5:52 AM
Updated: Feb 19, 2018 5:52 AM

Mitt Romney declared his bid for the US Senate from Utah on Friday. Despite being a fellow Republican, Romney is expected to be a thorn in President Donald Trump's side. Romney refused to endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign and, although he didn't reference the President by name, Romney made it clear with a number of references (such as to immigration) in his campaign announcement that he comes from a different wing of the Republican Party than Trump.

Romney couldn't have chosen a better state to be an anti-Trump Republican than Utah.

Utah was one of Trump's worst state performances during the 2016 primary season. Trump garnered just 14% of the vote and finished in third place behind Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Along with Minnesota, it was the only state where delegates were assigned in a caucus or primary (not a convention) in which Trump finished below second place. In no other state did Trump garner less than 20% of the vote.

Republican dislike of Trump in the state translated to the general election. In the 28 states with an exit poll, Trump's performance among Utah Republicans was by far the worst among Republicans.

He won a relatively low 64% of Utah Republicans. In the average state, Trump won 88% of Republicans. Besides Utah, he never won less than 84% of Republican voters. And don't forget that Evan McMullin's longshot independent bid for President in 2016 was largely centered on Utah.

Of course, it's not just the fact that Utah Republicans aren't the biggest fans of Trump that makes the state friendly territory for Romney. It's that Utah is heavily Republican. Over the course of 2017, Republicans and independents who lean Republican made up 57% of Utah adults in Gallup polling. Democrats and independents who lean Democratic made up only 29% of Utah adults. That 27 percentage point Republican lead was just behind North Dakota and Utah for the most Republican states in the nation.

Romney's path becomes clear when you realize the disparity between how Republican Utah is and how it feels about Trump. When you compare Trump's net approval rating (approval rating minus disapproval rating) with the Republican margin in party identification, Trump is really underperforming.

Trump had a net approval rating of just +1 percentage point in Utah during 2017, according to Gallup. That's a 26 percentage point difference with the Republican party identification edge. And while Trump tended to underperform the party identification in most states, he averaged just a 9-point difference. The 26-point gap in Utah was the largest of any state.

Indeed, there's little sign that Trump has made Utah any less Republican. Romney has led heavily in surveys taken of the race. Anti-Trump Republican John Curtis won a primary and a general election in a special House election in Utah in late 2017.

The bottom line is that Romney is running in the perfect state to be a anti-Trump Republican. He's in a strong position to take advantage of the the fact that 39% of Utah voters held an unfavorable view of both Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016. No other state came anywhere close to as many people disliking both of them.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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CountyCasesDeaths
Marion996911740
Lake53548966
Allen40529675
St. Joseph35596550
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Elkhart28470441
Tippecanoe22375218
Vanderburgh22293396
Porter18701307
Johnson17923378
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Switzerland7858
Union71010
Ohio56511
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1082815

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1258081400
Cuyahoga1119722115
Hamilton799721205
Montgomery514061014
Summit47145945
Lucas42119788
Butler38338584
Stark32273906
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Mahoning21546588
Lake20653369
Clermont19761238
Delaware18512133
Licking16418212
Fairfield16176199
Trumbull16032468
Medina15268264
Greene15063244
Clark13983299
Wood13080189
Portage12839203
Allen11639232
Richland11349199
Miami10670217
Muskingum8803133
Wayne8793211
Columbiana8778229
Pickaway8564121
Marion8523135
Tuscarawas8473244
Erie7888154
Hancock6914127
Ross6846155
Ashtabula6805170
Geauga6686148
Scioto6406101
Belmont5881167
Union570848
Lawrence5549102
Jefferson5525151
Huron5430119
Darke5355123
Sandusky5347120
Seneca5282121
Athens519158
Washington5155109
Auglaize490784
Mercer480385
Shelby469293
Knox4486110
Madison435661
Putnam4278100
Fulton422469
Ashland421789
Defiance419697
Crawford3975107
Brown394157
Logan381676
Preble379598
Clinton372163
Ottawa366679
Highland355062
Williams339275
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Guernsey315653
Jackson312551
Perry294950
Morrow284939
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Henry268666
Coshocton265257
Holmes2603101
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Adams237852
Pike237634
Gallia235349
Wyandot231055
Hocking215362
Carroll191547
Paulding172640
Meigs144840
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108423
Harrison108137
Vinton83115
Unassigned02
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