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Romney makes it official: He's running for Utah Senate seat

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Republican Mitt Romney is trying for a political comeback as he launches a Senate campaign in Utah.

The former presidential nominee made his campaign official Friday in an online video after a delaying his launch following a deadly shooting at a Florida high school.

Romney is considered a heavy favorite for the Senate seat held by Orrin Hatch. The longtime Republican senator is retiring.

Romney has been a persistent critic of President Donald Trump, but those close to Romney say he'll focus his campaign instead on Utah.

They say Romney will suggest Washington has much to learn from the state the former Massachusetts governor now calls home. Romney is well-known in Utah for having managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. His 2012 presidential bid was lost to incumbent Barack Obama.

Speaker Paul Ryan released this statement on Romney:

“This is a terrific day for the United States Senate. I was honored to join Mitt Romney on the national ticket in 2012 and couldn't be happier that he's running for this seat. Our party and our country are always better off when Mitt is engaged, and I know that he will put his unparalleled experience, conservative leadership, and lifetime of service to work for Utah in the U.S. Senate. Janna and I adore Mitt and Ann. His campaign has my unwavering support, and the people of Utah will be getting an accomplished and decent man when they make him their next Senator."
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