Utah Republican House Speaker Brad Wilson announced Thursday he has formed an exploratory committee to run for Senate – the first sign that he will challenge Republican Sen. Mitt Romney in 2024.
Wilson is weighing a senatorial bid because he is concerned with the “out of control spending” in Washington, and wouldn’t say whether a Romney run would dictate his plans, according to Deseret News. Romney has yet to announce a reelection run, but filed a “statement of candidacy” with the Federal Elections Commission Tuesday.
“I’ve really loved the opportunity that we’ve had to keep government small and out of people’s lives, it’s part of why Utah is so special,” he said. “I really believe that what Washington needs is to be a lot more like Utah. We’ve got this amazing opportunity to send Utah values back to D.C., and to have a conservative fighter back there, doing things back there the way we do them here in the Beehive State.”
While Romney has garnered some backlash from Utah Republicans, Wilson didn’t care to criticize the senator, and said those conversations are for the primary when the GOP field is fully formed, he told Deseret News. Wilson said he hopes to bring “newness” to Washington.
“I’m not necessarily being disrespectful to anyone that’s back there,” Wilson told Deseret News. “But I think that, Utah, we do things here so differently than how it’s done there that I’d probably want to take my own mold back there and not mold myself after anyone.”
The speaker said he believes abortion belongs at the state level and that America must have “a more clear objective” when it comes to the war in Ukraine, he told Deseret News. (RELATED: ‘Grandpa Xi’: Utah Lawmakers, Schools Reportedly Cozied Up To Chinese Communist Party)
While Romney has filed FEC paperwork, he has yet to make a final decision about 2024, his chief of staff, Liz Johnson, told Deseret News.
“No new decision or announcement to share, and as the senator has said, he will make a final decision in the coming months,” she told Deseret News. “In the meantime, we’re ensuring he’s well prepared to run if he chooses.”
Romney declined to comment, while Wilson did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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