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Josh Romney Could Be Powerful Foe for Utah Sen. Mike Lee

Image: Josh Romney Could Be Powerful Foe for Utah Sen. Mike Lee
Son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Josh Romney. (Elizabeth Hamilton/Gainsville Sun/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 10 Apr 2015 01:39 PM

A new poll reveals that the Romney name could be a powerful pull in the 2016 Senate race, but this time around, it's the son rather than the father getting the attention.

According to the Utah Policy Poll released this week, Mitt Romney's son, Josh, could prove a strong competitor against Utah Sen. Mike Lee if he decides to seek the Senate.

Forty-nine percent of Utah voters surveyed said they'd vote for Lee if the GOP primary was being held now, reports The Washington Post, but 36 percent said they would vote for Romney, and another 14 percent remained undecided.

Romney has said in past years that he would not rule out following in his father's footsteps, and Lee has been suffering from shifting favorability ratings. His ratings were only at 40 percent when he sided with Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in the government shutdown two years ago, but it's since risen to 54 percent this past fall.

Other Republicans in the current poll did not fare nearly as well as Lee or Romney. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman was not included in the poll, and former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright only got one percent in the poll.

The Romney name gained power in Utah when Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, led the committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics

However, Romney endorsements may not be enough, as Lee's predecessor Bob Bennett, who Romney supported, placed third in the state Republican convention in 2009 and was disqualified for the nomination.

These days though, Republicans are appealing law changes that allow candidates who skip the convention and still collect petition names to be allowed on the ballot.

The poll of 600 registered voters was conducted on March 30-April 7, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

Boyd Matheson, senior adviser to Lee, said the senator is not paying attention to such polls.

"To be honest, the only numbers Sen. Lee is concerned about right now are the number of Utahns being hurt by the failed policies of this administration," Matheson told The Deseret News.

Meanwhile, Josh Romney said he was "not taking politics off the table."

The father of six young children told "The Michael McCarlie Show" he "likely will get involved at some point in some capacity. Probably nothing soon."

Kirk Jowers, who has ruled out his own campaign as a possible Lee successor and who heads the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, told The Deseret News that he does not believe Romney will run, even with his name recognition.

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A new poll reveals that the Romney name could be a powerful pull in the 2016 Senate race, but this time around, it's the son rather than the father getting the attention.
Utah, Senate, Josh Romney, Mike Lee
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2015-39-10
Friday, 10 Apr 2015 01:39 PM
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