Posted by on September 19, 2023 9:40 am
Categories: News Washington Examiner

Small town mayor launches bid to replace Romney as GOP primary field grows for Utah Senate

FILE – Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears on stage during a campaign event at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Aug. 31, 2012, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) Mary Altaffer/AP

Small town mayor launches bid to replace Romney as GOP primary field grows for Utah Senate

Cami Mondeaux September 19, 09:00 AM September 19, 09:33 AM Video Embed

A small-town mayor of a rural city in northeastern Utah has launched a bid for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), joining an already crowded field of GOP candidates seeking to replace the one-term incumbent next year.

Mayor Rod Bird Jr. of Roosevelt, Utah, announced his Senate campaign on Tuesday, making him the fourth candidate to launch his bid after Romney confirmed last week that instead of running in 2024, he would be retiring once his term expires. Bird is pledging $1 million of his own money to fund his campaign, pitching himself as a “common-sense conservative.”


“I’m running to fight for working families, everyday Utahns, and small businesses who are struggling due to inflation that has been made worse by Joe Biden’s failed policies and years of career politicians selling us out,” Bird said. “We need to get federal spending under control and get back to the basics that have made our country great. It’s time to get serious about securing our border, guarding American jobs, rescuing our constitutional rights, and putting regular people ahead of special interests.”

Bird was first elected as mayor in 2018, painting himself as a conservative candidate focused on lowering taxes and promoting “small-town” values such as honesty and hard work, he said. During his tenure, Bird was among the lawmakers who pushed back against COVID-19 mandates and passed local legislation to implement term limits in the city.

“Maybe it’s the small town in me, but I still believe through thoughtful, honest conversations — we can work together and get our country back on track,” he said. “I’m not a slick politician, and I never will be, but I can promise that I will always listen to the people I represent, stand up for what’s right, look you in the eyes and speak the truth, and fight for the people across our state.”

However, Bird is likely to face an uphill battle in the fight to replace Romney, especially as other local Republicans eye the coveted seat. At least three other candidates have already declared their candidacy, including Mayor Trent Staggs of Riverton, Utah, data scientist Gabriel Blanco-Lobo, and political commentator Tyrone Jensen.

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson is also expected to enter the race after forming an exploratory committee earlier this year. Wilson announced on Monday he would be stepping down as House speaker and is set to make his campaign announcement on Sept. 27.

More than 60 lawmakers in the Utah legislature endorsed Wilson to run for Romney’s seat, according to a memo first obtained by the Washington Examiner early last month. The list of endorsements includes a majority of Utah Republican legislators, comprising three-quarters of the state House and more than two-thirds of the Utah Senate.

Other prominent Republicans have been rumored to be considering a campaign, including former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who previously told the Washington Examiner in February that a Senate bid wasn’t something he was “actively pursuing” but that he was “keeping all my doors open.”


However, Chaffetz has also hinted at running for other offices, such as governor, making it unclear whether he plans to throw his hat in the ring. Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT), who represents Utah’s 1st Congressional District in the northern part of the state, has also attracted rumors about a possible Senate bid, although he has not indicated whether that is something he would pursue.

The race for Utah’s Senate seat is not expected to be competitive as the state is reliably Republican and has not elected a Democratic senator since 1970. However, it remains unclear which GOP candidate has a shot of winning the primary as recent polls show more than half of Utah voters are undecided.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

NewsRead More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *