Mitt Romney failed to secure his party's nomination for retiring Orrin Hatch's Utah Senate seat on Sunday. The former Republican candidate for President will now head to a June primary after a wild day of voting at the state's nominating convention.
Romney was among a dozen Republican candidates who want a chance to run for Hatch's seat in November. However, he was unable to secure the 60% of the votes needed, and thus the nomination.
During the second round of voting, state representative Mark Kennedy took the top spot with 50.88% of the vote, with Romney securing 49.12%. The pair will now face off in a primary set for June 26th - the first such primary since 2010.
Romney was endorsed by President Donald Trump for the seat, despite how the candidate took a tough line against the president during the 2016 campaign.
@MittRomney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah. He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!
Romney accepted Trump's tweet, with one of his own.
Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah.
Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 20, 2018
Romney re-emerged as a candidate for the Utah senate seat following Hatch's announcement he would retire this year. He made his Senate bid official in a video posted to his social media channels, saying now is "the right time to serve" Utah and its people.
"I have decided to run for United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah's values and Utah's lessons to Washington. Utah is a better model for Washington than Washington is for Utah," he said in the video announcing his campaign.