Morning Digest: Mitt Romney kicks off campaign to succeed GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

UT-Sen: On Friday, one-time Netflix documentary star Mitt Romney announced he would seek the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah. Romney, an unsuccessful 1994 Senate candidate in Massachusetts who is also known as the uncle of Colorado gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson, begins as the heavy favorite to win the June primary in this very red state.​

Campaign Action

​However, the former charity boxer may still face a challenge from state Auditor John Dougall, who recently said he was strongly considering launching what he knew would be an uphill battle. Dougall cited Romney’s on-again, but currently off rivalry with Donald Trump, arguing Utah needed an outspoken Trump ally in the Senate. However, Utah may be the one state where being a sometimes-Trump critic isn’t fatal in a GOP primary, and there’s no indication Trump plans to go after Romney.

P.S. If Romney wins, he’ll be the second person in U.S. history to serve as governor of one state and senator from another. According to the University of Minnesota, the only person who currently has this distinction is Sam Houston. Houston served as Tennessee’s chief executive in the late 1820s and became Texas’ senator after it gained statehood in the 1840s. But in between that, Houston served as president of the Republic of Texas, a post Romney has yet to run for.