Utah GOP chairman takes a jab at Romney's ability to represent the state

Utah GOP chairman takes a jab at Romney's ability to represent the state
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In an unusual move, the chairman of the Utah Republican party on Wednesday took a jab at Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Former Bush adviser: Senate should reject Stephen Moore Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP MORE's possible run for Senate in Utah, comparing the former GOP presidential candidate's likely run to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Ex-Clinton aide: Dems should make 2020 'about integrity' Trump mounts Rust Belt defense MORE's past run for Senate.

Rob Anderson, the state party chairman, told The Salt Lake Tribune that Romney is "essentially doing what Hillary Clinton did in New York," recalling the former first lady's 2000 run for Senate in New York, a state she had never resided in. He said Romney has barely spent any time in Utah.

"I think he's keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let's face it, Mitt Romney doesn't live here, his kids weren't born here, he doesn't shop here," Anderson said. 

Romney, who was born in Michigan and served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, moved to Holladay, Utah, in 2013 after losing the 2012 election to former President Obama. 

Anderson accused Romney of "using name recognition to win a seat" in the state. "I have two questions for Mitt. First of all, why? And how do you expect to represent Utah when you don't live here?" 

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The state party chairman's comments come just one day ahead of Romney's campaign announcement, expected on Thursday morning. Romney is expected to announce he will seek to replace Utah's longtime retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchNY's political prosecution of Manafort should scare us all Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders The FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate MORE (R). 

Hatch publicly backed Romney as a "fine" candidate to be his successor.

"There's no question that he loves Utah and wants to support Utah any way he can," Hatch said in January. "And I'm hopeful he'll run, because he would be just fine." 

Romney is a favorite to win Utah in 2018, a state he won by 50 points in the 2012 election. Top Republican senators are reportedly already considering Romney, an outspoken critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE, for a leadership position at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.