At the Utah GOP convention, former presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney failed to secure the necessary votes to win the GOP nomination for the senate.
This means that Romney will have to go through a primary election and face a Republican opponent to grab the nomination and run against the Democrat.
Of the 12 candidates vying for the nod, none were able to make 60%, obviously, and as a result, Romney will be facing Mike Kennedy on June 26.
Many expected Romney to take it in a walk, especially party leaders and the beltway set, but things took a turn at the convention and it was not to be. From CNN:
When none of the 12 candidates were able to cross that threshold, the party continued with successive rounds of caucus voting until one candidate reached 40%.
On the second round of voting, Utah state representative Mike Kennedy emerged in the lead with 50.88%. Romney came in a close second with 49.12%.
Romney and Kennedy will now compete in a primary set for June 26.
They add that Mitt told reporters he’s looking forward to the primary. Here’s more on his reaction, from the Daily Caller:
If the defeat was a cause for concern to the former Republican presidential nominee, he didn’t show it. “Frankly, given the fact that I collected signatures and the delegates don’t like people who collect signatures, I’m delighted with the outcome,” Romney said, according to the Desert News.
“Thank you to all the delegates who hung in there with us all day at the Convention,” Romney tweeted later Saturday. “I appreciate the support I received and look forward to the primary election.”
CNN asked Kenned about the outcome.
Kennedy, who had framed the race as David vs. Goliath, said when asked why he had edged out Romney in the vote that he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know,” Kennedy said when asked why he thought his message appealed more to delegates than Romney’s. “I don’t know — it’s just my message.”
“We’ve got 60 days to reach out to as many voters as we can.”
Mitt will probably still win the primary. At least, that’s coming mostly from the same beltway wisdom that said he would go unopposed, but also from polling.
It will surely be seen as referendum on Mitt’s many clashes with Trump. The Trump base rejects Romney whole-cloth, and that may have been a factor at the convention – where Kennedy dedicated most of his time to praising the President – and could be in the primary run as well.
Watch for Trump related ads, of course, as in any race this year. It is expected that many Republicans will run away from Trump, but in Utah, at the convention at least, that seems to have split the Republican vote. If that happens in other states, it could be a disaster for the GOP in November.
It’s a big “if”, not a prediction, but it could happen.