House Speaker Brad Wilson to resign ahead of U.S. Senate run

Posted at 11:19 AM, Sep 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-27 22:52:02-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah — House Speaker Brad Wilson announced Monday he will resign from the state legislature for a likely run for the U.S. Senate seat that Mitt Romney will vacate in early 2025.

Watch LIVE below as Brad Wilson expected to announce Senate run:

Speaker Wilson, who will leave the legislature on Nov. 15, had long been expected to run for the seat even before Romney's announcement last week that he would not seek reelection.

WATCH: Who will replace in the U.S. Senate?

While he made no mention of his future plans on Monday beyond saying he has been encouraged to run, Wilson's U.S. Senate exploratory committee announced a rally where he will "make a special announcement" on Sept. 27.

"I’ve really enjoyed working closely with all of my colleagues," Speaker Wilson told FOX 13 News. "There’s some difficult times through COVID but we’ve also done some remarkable things, whether it’s been cutting taxes or making big investments in the state’s future including big pay increases for education.

"We live in a great state and great people help lead that. I’m just really proud of the work we’ve done here, people love living in Utah for good reason."

Speaker Wilson ended his interview telling FOX 13 News to "stay tuned, we've got more in store."

While widely expected, Speaker Wilson's resignation still generated a lot of buzz at the Utah State Legislature's interim session being held at Utah Tech University in St. George.

"Speaker Wilson has been a huge asset to the state of Utah and he’s going to be missed," said House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper. "But I'm excited for him to move on and run for the open seat in congress. Boy, he’d make a fantastic senator and something our nation needs."

House Minority Whip Jennifer Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, said Democrats in the legislature worked well with the Speaker.

"I've appreciated his willingness to teach and to collaborate whenever possible. Obviously, there are political issues that arise, but I'm always grateful for his willingness to have a frank conversation even when we disagree," she said.

Senate Majority Whip Ann Millner, R-Ogden, also praised her colleague in the House.

"Speaker Wilson has been a superb speaker for the state of Utah. We are going to miss him in that role but we look forward to his run for Senate," she said, announcing her support for him. "I’m excited."

In response to the announcement, Gov. Spencer Cox expressed his gratitude for Speaker Wilson's service to Utah.

"Speaker Wilson has served Utah with dignity and diligence for the past 14 years and has been an advocate for his constituents and all Utahns," a tweet from Cox reads. "We’re grateful for his commitment and principled leadership, and wish him all the best on his next chapter."

Wilson was first elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2011 and has served as Speaker since January 2019.

Earlier this year, Wilson formed the exploratory committee that allowed for fundraising ahead of formally declaring his candidacy.

Beyond his planned U.S. Senate run, Speaker Wilson's resignation is likely to set off a race among House Republicans to replace him. House Majority Leader Schultz told FOX 13 News he intended to seek the powerful post.

"I will be running for Speaker, yes," he said. "I know there’s a couple others that have talked about it so we’ll see how that plays out."