Romney said he had chose to run for Senate because he believes he can "help bring Utah's values and Utah's lessons to Washington", adding: "Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah".
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. Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement in January. The longtime senator had named Romney as a desired successor past year.
For weeks, Romney and his camp have targeted February 15 for an official announcement, and now it is likely Romney confirms his Senate plans on that date.
After losing that race, Romney returned to Utah and ran the 2002 Winter Olympics, an experience that served as a launching pad for his second run for office, when he stormed back into MA to run for governor, batting aside complaints from Democrats who argued he was a carpetbagger who did not meet the state's residency requirements.
The Romney campaign team's leadership starts with two of his closest confidants from his hedge fund, Solamere Capital, Matt Waldrip, the head of business development at the firm, and Spencer Zwick, the cofounder of the company. A majority of Utahans belong to the Mormon faith.
"We're known as a people who serve, who care, and who rise to any occasion", Romney said. No donor or corporation would own his campaign or bias his vote, he said. "It's a very conservative state, and I think Mitt Romney, at least through his last presidential run, the policy that he advocated for will be very similar".
Mr Romney's campaign announcement was enthusiastically welcomed by his former running mate, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan. Helped by the fact that he's a Mormon, Romney already enjoys high popularity in the heavily Mormon state.
Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson leveled some criticism against Romney over whether he was in Utah, or whether he still claimed MA as his home (Anderson later apologized for any disparaging remarks).
He contrasted Utah's financial management with a Washington "buried in debt".
Mr Romney, a wealthy businessman and former governor of MA, is the frontrunner to win the seat in the November elections.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Utah Senate race Solid Republican.
If Mr. Romney wins the party's nomination, he could create problems for the Republican National Committee, which is chaired by Mr. Romney's niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, but takes its marching orders from Mr. Trump and the White House. Trump's comments, first reported by the Washington Post, have been denounced by members of both parties, with Democrats calling the statements racist. You might think that the Utah GOP under current party circumstances would welcome Romney's decision. We urge our friends in the Beehive State to get to know the real Mitt Romney before the Utah Republican Convention and to find an alternative candidate more in keeping with the Make America Great Again agenda they voted for in 2016.