Potential Romney primary challenger builds up $2.1 million war chest
A prominent Republican is banking millions in campaign cash as he weighs a bid for Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) seat.
- He narrowly avoided censure by the Utah Republican Party in 2021 after the second impeachment trial.
Driving the news: Brad Wilson, the speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, announced that his exploratory committee raised $2.2 million between April and June and has $2.1 million in cash on hand.
- Just over $1 million of that was raised from donors, with Wilson, a real estate developer, adding $1.2 million in a personal contribution.
- It's the most any Republican Utah Senate candidate – or potential candidate – has raised in their first quarter, Wilson's press office said.
- Wilson said in a statement that the haul shows "should I decide to run, we will have the resources and firepower we need to get our message out – and win.”
Zoom in: Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, had $600,000 in cash on hand as of his latest Federal Election Commission filing in March.
- He has raised $1.6 million since 2019, including $100,000 in the first quarter of this year. He has not yet announced his second quarter fundraising.
- But Romney, himself a wealthy former finance executive, has the capacity to match Wilson's self-funding if he decides to run.
The state of play: A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll in June found that 41% of Utahn's approve of the job Romney is doing while 49% disapprove – down 11 percentage points since March.
- Romney signaled to Politico in December he is considering running for a second term.