by Thomas Phippen
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney failed to win the Utah Republican nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat Saturday and will now compete in the June primary.
Romney also failed to win a majority at the Utah GOP convention, coming in with 49 percent of delegates’ support to Rep. Mike Kennedy’s 51 percent for the nomination to fill retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch’s seat.
A candidate needs 60 percent of the delegate vote to win the Utah Republican party’s nomination outright. After two rounds of voting, no candidate reached that threshold, forcing a wider primary election.
If the defeat was a cause for concern to the former Republican presidential nominee, he didn’t show it. “Frankly, given the fact that I collected signatures and the delegates don’t like people who collect signatures, I’m delighted with the outcome,” Romney said, according to the Desert News.
“Thank you to all the delegates who hung in there with us all day at the Convention,” Romney tweeted later Saturday. “I appreciate the support I received and look forward to the primary election.”
Romney launched his signature-gathering campaign in February after months of speculation about whether he would enter the race at all. As of the end of the first quarter in March, Romney out raised his opponent for the nomination with $1.1 million to Kennedy’s $257,000.
As “somebody who’s lived and worked and raised his family in Utah, balanced a budget,” voters might see Kennedy as more conservative than Romney, the representative said. “You don’t have to be high-powered and connected to Washington, D.C., to actually offer your services to the people,” Kennedy added.
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Thomas Phippen is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.