After months of speculation of “will he or won’t he?” that culminated in a slick video announcing he’s running, Mitt Romney made it official last Thursday when he filed as a candidate for the United States Senate.
The next eight months should be more of a drawn-out coronation than campaign as Romney travels the state giving local elected officials the opportunity to post pictures with him on social media. It will be more like an extended inauguration than election, except nobody will have to lie about its attendance.
After all, few things are more popular in Utah than its adopted son—Willard Mitt Romney. Maybe fry sauce is more popular, but even if it could get on the ballot, orange candidates haven’t fared very well in the Beehive State.
Perhaps Jello could give the former Massachusetts Governor a challenge. But Romney may have co-opted any appeal Jello might have given his squishy positions and uncanny ability to mold himself into what he believes voters want.
Donovan Mitchell—the dynamic Utah Jazz guard who lights up defenses like Romney lights Olympic torches—could give Romney a run for his (vast amounts of) money. But between him being busy with his own campaign for rookie of the year and the Constitution’s prescription that a Senator can be no less than 30 years of age, Mitt will avoid that threat as readily as Mitchell evades his defenders.
Detractors, however, suggest there’s a growing Romney fatigue. He’s been a perpetual candidate for almost the entire 21st century. And coming off back-to-back losses, his stock might be dropping off faster than Whitehouse staff.
Perhaps that is why 18 candidates—one for each year Hatch overstayed his welcome—have lined up to challenge the two-time presidential candidate. But what these senate hopefuls don’t realize is how many Utahns simply don’t care how often you lose. Just look at the BYU fan base.
Aside from his occasional shameless pandering, Mitt is the perfect candidate. A graduate of Harvard law and business schools, he went on to a very lucrative career as a venture capitalist and business consultant. He was elected Governor as a Republican in a state that is as blue as Utah is red. Oh, and I think I heard something about him being involved in the 2002 Olympics.
Throw in his chiseled jawline and robust head of hair sporting the perfect salt-to-pepper ratio and you have a perfectly cast candidate that even Hollywood couldn’t replicate.
Better yet, he’s already been vetted on the national stage; there will be no October surprise casting doubt on his candidacy. Millions were spent in hopes of digging up dirt on the then-presidential hopeful. The best/worst they could find was that he strapped a dog kennel on top of his car en route to a family vacation. Never mind this was an era when you could strap a child to the top of a car with impunity. The only purpose seatbelts served back then was to whip the sibling sitting next to you. After said sibling overreacted with an Oscar-worthy performance, your dad would inevitably threaten to strap you to the top of the vehicle. And nobody cared. Nowadays, kids can’t ride a scooter without suiting up like a linebacker.
Barring a miracle, Romney will ride the proverbial white horse all the way to the Senate chamber to save the constitution as it hangs by a thread (thanks, Donald). And Utah’s junior senator, Mike Lee—who was no doubt looking forward to escaping the shadow of Utah’s senior senator—will now have to defer to Utah’s de facto senior senator.
At least until Romney challenges the man he once called a “fraud” in hopes that the third time really is the charm.