Herbert says he’s personally urged Romney to run for US Senate

Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s spoken to Mitt Romney about Utah’s open U.S. Senate seat, but he won’t discuss whether Romney told him if he was going to run. 

“I’ll make no comment on that because it depends on what he said and how I heard it,” said Herbert coyly.

In an interview with UtahPolicy.com Herbert was asked about a report from the New York Times that Romney’s longtime friend Kem Gardner showed Herbert a text from Romney that said, “I’m running.”

He explained that was not entirely accurate.

“How you just said it, it did not happen,” said Herbert. “Actually, it was a telephone conversation. Kem called me one day and said I just got a text from Mitt Romney. He knows your concerns, and he said just tell Gary I’m running. He got a text that he was supposed to share with me, and part of it said ‘I’m running.'”

The speculation about whether Romney is going to run for the Senate seat that’s open because of Sen. Orrin Hatch’s retirement has launched one of the most elaborate games of “telephone” in recent memory. There is so much “someone told someone else” reporting that it’s easy to get individual details wrong. However, the overarching theme is plenty of people are encouraging Romney to run, and it looks like he’s preparing to launch a campaign for the seat. 

One of those people encouraging Romney to run is Herbert.

“I’ve encouraged him to step up and don’t be coy about this,” says Herbert. “The phrase I’ve used is if you’re running, run. There are other people out there who want to run.”

“Since Sen. Hatch said he’s not going to run, I’ve told Mitt let’s move ahead because others want to know. If you’re not going to run, then other people will want to step up, and they don’t have a lot of time to raise money and get their campaign in place.”

Romney refused to answer questions about his political future following a speech in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.