If Mitt Romney wins the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Orrin Hatch, he's looking to become a major player in the Senate, taking control of the traditional GOP establishment that's been sidelined by President Trump.

Politico reports Romney's confidantes say he could tap into his broad fundraising network to support other Republicans if they push back against Trump. He also hopes to join the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee to speak out against the threat posed by Russia.

After warring with the president during the 2016 campaign, Romney has struck a delicate balance as of late — offering praise for some of Trump’s policies while bluntly criticizing his bombastic style. But at a time when Trump’s “America First” and populist-driven approach has overtaken the party, Romney’s preliminary planning has led to mounting expectations among allies that he’ll try to be a counterweight to the president — at least occasionally — and to fill a gaping vacuum in mainstream GOP leadership.

 

Those close to Romney say his return is in no small part guided by a desire to fill a hole in the mainstream GOP hierarchy that’s been decimated by Trump.

 

"Mitt is the voice, the face of the Republican Party,” said Scott Keller, a Utah real estate executive who recently hosted a fundraiser for Romney. “I absolutely expect him to fill in for the folks that are leaving."

Romney is expected to easily win the June 26 primary against Rep. Mike Kennedy. The most recent UtahPolicy.com survey shows Romney leading by a 43-point margin over Kennedy. The winner of that race will take on Democrat Jenny Wilson and a handful of third-party candidates in November.