Mitt Romney could become the first person in modern history to serve as governor of one state and win election to the U.S. Senate from another.
On Monday UtahPolicy.com reported that sources close to Romney were said the former Massachusetts governor would run for Senate in Utah if Sen. Orrin Hatch were to retire at the end of his current term. So far, Hatch has been noncommittal about whether he’ll run for an eighth term.
Dr. Eric Ostermeier, with the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, and the author of the Smart Politics blog, tells UtahPolicy.com that no one has ever pulled off that dual electoral feat since the advent of the 17th Amendment in 1913, which provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators.
Before 1913, senators were elected by their respective state legislatures. During that era, it happened on occasion. Ostermeir tells us that Sam Houston served as governor of Tennessee from 1827 – 1829, then was elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas in 1846. He also was governor of Texas in the late 1850’s.
Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and served until 2007. He twice ran for president, winning the GOP nomination in 2012 when he lost to Barack Obama.
Romney is much beloved in Utah for rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympic games from scandal and financial difficulties.
If Hatch does opt against running for another term in the Senate, Romney would likely win the election in a walk. A UtahPolicy.com survey found Romney far ahead of Democrat Jenny Wilson in a hypothetical matchup, 64-26%.