Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) is running for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), he first told Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV on Tuesday.
The lawmaker joins what is expected to be a packed primary for the seat, which also includes Brent Hatch, a son of the late Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who represented the Beehive State for over 40 years.
Curtis teased a Senate run in late September but penned an op-ed in Deseret News days later committing to a 2024 reelection bid in the House.
“The second I made the announcement that I was not going to run, I started to have people reach out to me asking me to reconsider,” Curtis told KSL-TV. “The very people who had made that commitment to were a lot of those voices who said, ‘You can actually serve us better in the Senate than you can in the House.’ And so without that, I don’t I don’t think I could have changed my mind.”
The congressman said his record of passing bills and experience as a three-term lawmaker would prepare him well for the upper chamber.
“I bring that, and then I also bring a Utah focus. People know that I’m not the guy who wakes up and tries to get on TV at night. I wake up and say, ‘What can I do for the district?’ And I think people have really appreciated that,” he said, according to KSL-TV.
Curtis is the former mayor of Provo, Utah, and represents the Provo area in Congress. He considered himself a Democrat until 2006.
Romney said he would not seek reelection in September. Utah GOP Chairman Robert Axson told The Hill at the time that about a dozen people were “seriously considering” a run at the seat.
“This is going to be a blockbuster Republican primary election,” Damon Cann, head of Utah State University’s department of political science, told The Hill in September. “No doubt about it. We don’t see a lot of open Senate seats in Utah.”
Other notable candidates for Romney’s seat include Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson and multiple GOP mayors. The state is not expected to be competitive for Democrats.
The Utah Senate primary is June 25.
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