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Romney Could Be Getting Primary Challenge From Trump Ally

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a staunch Trump supporter, is getting ready to challenge Sen. Mitt Romney in the 2024 Utah GOP primary.

“Sean is very seriously considering running, regardless if Mitt runs or not,” a person who spoke to Politico on the condition of anonymity. “He’s confident that regardless of what Sen. Romney wants to do, he’s going to pursue this.”

“I guarantee Trump will come up with somebody,” said Carson Jorgensen, chair of the Utah Republican Party. “There’s enough vitriol there that no matter if Trump is running for president, he will run a candidate against Romney.”

The person told Politico that Trump encouraged Reyes to run against Romney when the pair held previous meetings together.

“When he meets with Trump, the only thing that comes up is ‘Will you run against Romney? I need you to run against Romney. Get that guy out,’” the person recalled.

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“There isn’t a Republican candidate in the country who isn’t seeking the support of President Trump,” said Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich. “Mitt Romney will be replaced in 2024 by a champion for America First, that goes without question — he abandoned Utah and caved to the Radical Left.”

Gallup poll from 2020 revealed 56 percent of Democrats approve of Romney while just 23 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of him.

This could put him at risk if Reyes does run, especially given he would have President Donald Trump’s full support.

Trump adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle called Reyes “both substantive and magnetic,” and added that “there is a reason” why he was selected to speak on the final day of the Republican convention in 2020.

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“Many of us who served President Trump have enthusiastically encouraged him to run for Senate regardless of what Mitt decides to do,” Guilfoyle said.

Another Trump ally, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Reyes is “respected within Trump world and obviously has a future in politics.”

Romney delivered an odd response when asked about the reports.

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“That isn’t something I’m prepared to decide yet or communicate,” he said.”But were I to decide to run again, the best news I could get would be that Sean Reyes was my opponent.”

Prominent Republicans in Utah say Reyes has positive relationships with pro-Romney donors and could siphon money away from Romney allies.

“There would be no one else better in the state of Utah for a Trump endorsement, and Sean would certainly pick up other endorsements besides Trump,” said Mike Deaver, a Republican strategist based in Utah. “And that’s kind of his appeal too — he’s so willing to work across the aisles and has relationships in D.C. He has done so many things that originate from Utah that have national consequences.”

Greg Smith, a former Trump White House official who also has deep ties to the state, confirmed that there’s support for a Reyes Senate bid.

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“He’s been the attorney general for nearly a decade, is charismatic, and has a dynamic background,” Smith said. “Of course people want him to run.”

Reyes is married and has six children and has served as attorney general for nearly a decade. Known to be tough against drug dealers, human traffickers, child predators, and white-collar criminals, Reyes was selected in 2015 by the Republican National Committee as one of the party’s four national rising stars.

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