Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced on Wednesday he will not seek reelection, saying, “Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”
The 76-year-old Romney is in his first term as Senator, having been elected in 2018. He was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee (after a failed 2008 bid)–losing a winnable race against Barack Obama–and served one term as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. Romney said he will serve out his term in the Senate, which ends in January 2025.
Romney posted a video announcing his decision not to run.
My message to Utahns on my Senate reelection plan: pic.twitter.com/kgbsfIxMeR
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 13, 2023
The decision by Romney to step aside for a new generation, even though he himself appears to be healthy enough to serve another term, could be seen as a move to prod older politicians in both parties to move on. In the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 81, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 90, have faced calls to step down due to age and infirmity. In the House, former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), 83, who stepped down from leadership last year, announced she is running for another term next year. Pelosi has served in the House since winning a special election in 1987.
Brandon, 80, was called upon to not run in 2024 by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, in part due to his age.
Romney has been one of 77-year-old President Donald Trump’s strongest critics in the Republican Party, having voted to convict Trump in both of his impeachment trials.
In his statement, Romney attacked Trump and Brandon over government finances, “climate change” and foreign policy, however his call for a new generation to step up appears to rule out a third part or independent presidential run in 2024.
Romney’s approval rating in Utah had gone up in a recent poll, according to the Deseret News (excerpt)
The number of Utah Republicans who say they approve of Sen. Mitt Romney’s performance has jumped dramatically over the past few months, according to a new poll. The poll also shows growing support for a second run for Utah’s junior senator, who is up for reelection in 2024.
The poll includes another question on who Utahns would vote for in a possible 2024 Republican primary, with Romney coming out ahead of challenger Trent Staggs, the mayor of Riverton who is campaigning to the right of Romney, and Utah Speaker Brad Wilson, who is exploring a run for the seat.
…Poll numbers from May showed Romney had some vulnerability among Republican voters, which could mean a struggle in a Republican primary.
But Romney’s job approval among Utah Republicans shot up over the summer, from 40% in May to 56% in August. Romney still struggles with self-described “very conservative” voters, with almost half saying in the August poll they strongly disapprove of his job performance, but did better among “moderate” and “somewhat conservative” voters.
Meanwhile, 54% of all Utah voters said they strongly or somewhat approve of Romney’s performance.
The poll was conducted Aug. 7-14 of 803 registered Utah voters by Dan Jones & Associates, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.