Republican state lawmaker Dan Hemmert was reading headlines about Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat last month that worried him.
According to multiple reports, President Trump’s former aide Steve Bannon was looking to recruit right-wing challengers for the seat in his bid to upend the Republican establishment.
“I feel like it’s our Senate seat,” said Hemmert, a state senator representing Orem. “When I say ours, it’s Utah’s. It’s not a bunch of pundits in D.C. or even elected officials anywhere in the country, it’s ours.”
So Hemmert decided it was time to do something. Now, he and a few friends are forming a political action committee called “Recruit Romney” and launching a petition to persuade the former Republican presidential candidate to run.
Hemmert said the effort is completely grassroots. He has not spoken to or tried to contact Romney ahead of launching the petition.
“The goal here is to show to Gov. Romney that there are Utahns — and I know there’s been polls — but even more than that, showing that there’s voters in Utah who would love it if he decided to run,” he said.
Although Hatch has not made a final decision on whether to seek an eighth term, he’s told media outlets that Romney would be a good replacement.
Romney has also been increasingly interested in the prospect, talking with donors and Republican stakeholders around the state.
Hemmert plans to unveil his "Recruit Romney" campaign with a kick-off event this Monday, Nov. 13 at the state capitol.