2012 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts
governor failed to win the Utah Republican Party's nomination,
which means he must face 11 challengers in a June primary for
the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Orrin
Romney needed at least 60 percent of the votes from delegates at
the Utah GOP convention Saturday to head to the November
election unopposed, but he earned only 49.12 percent, CNN and
other media reported.
Romney was considered the political favorite by political
observers and U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed Romney in
The president said on Twitter in February that Romney "will make
a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my
full support and endorsement!"
But Romney and the president have not always been political
Romney excoriated Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign and
said he was a "fraud" who was "playing the American public for
suckers." Trump responded that Romney had "choked like a dog" in
his 2012 campaign against President Barack Obama.
Despite the criticism, Trump briefly considered making Romney
his Secretary of State.
Romney said in February that he generally approves of Trumpís
agenda, but would call out the president if needed.
"I'm with the presidentís domestic policy agenda of low taxes,
low regulation, smaller government, pushing back against the
bureaucrats," Romney said. "I'm not always with the president on
what he might say or do, and if that happens Iíll call them like
I see them, the way I have in the past."
Romney was criticized by some delegates for being a latecomer to
the state, moving to Utah relatively recently, CNN reported.
Romney's campaign could not be reached for comment early Sunday.
(Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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