Mitt Romney’s 2024 challenger says Utah senator ‘not representing’ voters

Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs poses for a photo in Taylorsville, Utah, on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Staggs announced Tuesday, May 23, 2023, a bid for Mitt Romney’s U.S. Senate seat.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, listens during a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget in Washington, April 26, 2022. After four years in Washington, Romney has established himself as a rare senator willing to publicly rebuke members of his own party. But the Utah senator’s outspoken stances, along with his willingness to work with Democrats, have angered some Republicans in the deep-red state he represents and led them to cast about for someone to try to dethrone him a primary race next year. Bonnie Cash/Pool Photo via AP

Laura Seitz/The Deseret News via AP

Mitt Romney’s 2024 challenger says Utah senator ‘not representing’ voters

Eden Villalovas

May 25, 02:20 PM May 25, 02:20 PM

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Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) rival in the upcoming state GOP primary, Republican Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, says people in Utah don’t believe he represents their values.

“I’ve had so many people reach out to me and say Senator Romney is not representing Utahans, not representing my values, not representing us well at a national level,” Staggs said on Fox News Thursday morning.


Staggs, who lost a Salt Lake City mayoral race in 2020 to Democratic Mayor Jenny Wilson, said Romney’s record is not in alignment with the state, having lost his conservative values while in Washington, D.C.

“I’ve run my community here for the last ten years as an elected official. They love my track record as a consistent conservative,” Staggs said.

Staggs brought up Romney’s wealth while painting himself as a humble contender from a family with 10 children. “I watched my parents pinch pennies on my dad’s teacher salary, and I’ve taken that same approach to government,” Staggs said in his campaign launch video.

Staggs has argued for stricter border security, promising to improve immigration policy.

“He’s on the record supporting Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, who I think is the most incompetent, or one of the most incompetent people in D.C. and responsible for this open borders mess,” Staggs said.

The mayor launched his campaign in a video Tuesday, characterizing himself as a fighter against “big government” and calling out Romney for fighting for “the establishment, wokeness, open borders, impeaching President Trump, and putting us even deeper into debt.”

Romney has yet to announce whether he will seek reelection, but he took the first steps last month by filing a declaration of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

The latest poll from Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics shows 52% of Utah voters support Romney. However, he falls a few points shy of majority support from Republican voters, with only 47% saying they approve or strongly approve of his performance.

“We’re not seeing what we really need, bold conservative action, in D.C. right now to represent our great state and our nation,” Staggs said.

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