Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney to Retire in 2024
End of an Era: Utah Senator Mitt Romney Bows Out of 2024 Reelection Bid, Shaping the Future of American Conservatism
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2024, marking a significant moment in American politics. This decision, delivered via a video statement on Wednesday, signifies the potential end to a storied conservative career that had in recent years put him in conflict with his party’s standard-bearer, Donald Trump.
In his heartfelt message, Romney, who is 76 years old, reflected on his role in major bipartisan legislation on critical issues, including infrastructure, guns, and COVID-19 relief. However, he expressed that it’s time for a “new generation” to lead both on Capitol Hill and in the White House. He did not shy away from criticizing both President Joe Biden and former President Trump for their perceived inaction on addressing America’s pressing challenges.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, was elected to the Senate in 2018 and will leave Washington in January 2025.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Romney cited his age as a factor in his decision to retire. He emphasized the need for a new generation to shape the future, stating, “I have spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another. At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-eighties. 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.”
Romney recognized the critical challenges facing the nation, such as the mounting national debt, climate change, and global power dynamics. He noted that neither President Biden nor former President Trump is effectively addressing these issues, attributing the lack of progress to political motivations.
While announcing his retirement from the Senate, Romney assured the public that he would not entirely leave politics. His Senate term extends for over another year, and he hinted at remaining involved beyond his departure.
“While I’m not running for reelection, I’m not retiring from the fight. I’ll be your United States senator until January 2025. I will keep working on these and other issues and I will advance our state’s numerous priorities,” he asserted.
Romney’s decision comes after months of speculation about whether he would seek a second term. He was one of the few high-level GOP officeholders to consistently criticize Trump and voted to convict Trump in each of his impeachment trials.
Speaking to ABC News’ Rachel Scott, Romney acknowledged that the Republican Party is currently overshadowed by Donald Trump. He highlighted the differences between his policy-focused wing of the party and the Trump wing, which often revolves around resentments and revisiting the 2020 election.
Romney denied that his decision had anything to do with the possibility of Trump’s presence on the 2024 ballot and expressed respect for those who vote their conscience, even if they disagree with his stance.
In the wake of Romney’s announcement, the race for the 2024 Utah Senate GOP primary has gained attention. Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs is officially in the race, with state House Speaker Brad Wilson considering it and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz weighing a campaign.
Ultimately, Romney’s camp is confident in his position, citing local polling suggesting he would have been able to run a strong campaign. Romney also received praise from Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, who lauded his accomplishments during his Senate tenure.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Romney acknowledged that his Trump criticism had left him somewhat adrift in the Republican Party. He expressed the desire to see another candidate secure the party’s 2024 presidential nomination, but he indicated that his endorsement might not have a significant impact on any candidate.
As for his post-Senate political involvement, Romney ruled out a run for president on a potential No Labels third-party ticket, cautioning that it could affect Biden’s campaign for reelection.