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House Speaker Brad Wilson explores potential challenge to Sen. Mitt Romney

Posted at 2:28 PM, Apr 13, 2023

FARMINGTON, Utah — House Speaker Brad Wilson confirmed to FOX 13 News he is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Mitt Romney.

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"I'm going to make a decision over the course of the next few months as I go around the state and listen to what people are looking for," he said Thursday in an interview with FOX 13 News. "What I believe is in the best interest of the state of Utah and what’s in the best interest of my family."

Speaker Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he was creating an exploratory committee that allows him to do some fundraising ahead of formally declaring a candidacy. He said he has become increasingly concerned about what is happening in Washington, particularly with inflation and its impacts on Utah families.

"What I know is Utah has a tremendous amount to offer to D.C., and in fact, Washington needs to be a lot more like Utah. We’ve got an opportunity to send Utah values back to D.C. and we need to make sure we have a conservative fighter back there to make Washington a lot more like Utah," Speaker Wilson said.

Speaker Wilson declined to critique his potential opponent in Sen. Romney, nor state how he would have voted on issues that Utah's junior senator has earned the ire of some fellow Republicans for, including his two votes to impeach President Donald Trump and his support for the infrastructure bill.

Earlier this week, Sen. Romney opened his own exploratory committee for a potential re-election bid, but he has not formally declared if he will run again.

Speaker Wilson's exploratory committee could scare some challengers off, as he presents a formidable name in the race. He has exercised significant statewide influence from Utah's Capitol Hill on issues from tax policy to COVID-19. He has even earned bipartisan praise for his work on saving the Great Salt Lake.

"One of the skills I bring to the table is the ability to get a lot of people with very differing opinions together and get them to work together on hard things and solve hard challenges," Speaker Wilson said. "If there’s a place in the world that needs that skill set? It’s Washington, D.C.."

In the interview on Thursday, Speaker Wilson would not say who he would support in the run for president, either Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

there will be a time when everyone who is running for president and we have all the declared to weigh in on that. I think it’s premature to make that decision. My focus on that right now is what’s in the best interest of the state of utah in terms of the u-s senate. I will say this: what i think as a republican matters the most to me is making sure we have strong republican leadership in the white house and that means a republican nominee that has the ability to beat president biden as he runs for re-election.

Sen. Romney could face a number of challengers in the race. Other names that have been floated to jump in include Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, former Utah congressman and current FOX News Channel pundit Jason Chaffetz, former Utah GOP Chair and real-estate magnate Thomas Wright, and former House lawmaker Becky Edwards (who challenged Sen. Mike Lee for his seat).