Why Mitt Romney’s Senate Bid Matters So Much

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and one-time presidential candidate, announced his U.S. Senate bid in Utah Friday morning.

While the announcement was expected to happen on Thursday, Romney postponed it following the deadly Florida high school shooting Wednesday night.

Will Romney Win a Senate Seat?

A Salt Lake Tribune poll from January shows Romney handily winning the November 2018 race, getting 64% support from those surveyed.

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Should he clinch Sen. Orrin Hatch’s vacated seat, Romney will likely draw attention from both sides of the aisle, with supporters and critics anxious to see how he will govern in the context of a Trump presidency. Romney’s national name recognition and political clout—thanks to his 2012 presidential bid and tenure as Massachusetts governor—mean he would likely have outsize influence for a first-time senator.

Romney vs. Trump

Despite having previously spoken out against the president, former Romney spokesman Ryan Williams assured The Washington Post that “this is not a Trump protest candidacy.” Nevertheless, many from the GOP mainstream hope that he will represent a return to traditional party beliefs and values and serve as a counterbalance to Trump.

How Will Romney Vote?

CNBC postulates that Romney would “likely agree with Trump on most issues,” particularly those fiscal in nature. Romney, like Trump, comes from a business background, having previously worked in management consulting and private equity. But Romney could bring a strong opposing voice on foreign policy issues, national security, and immigration in the Senate where Republicans currently hold a slim 51-to-49 majority, meaning he could stymie the president’s agenda.

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Those close to Romney suggest that he would be an “independent-minded lawmaker,” supporting traditional GOP values without serving as a harsh critic to Trump.

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