A chance to be in the “world’s greatest deliberative body” has flocks of Utah Republicans considering their own popularity. The latest is Utah Rep. John Curtis, who is eyeing a run next year for the open seat left by the retiring Sen. Mitt Romney.
“Everything is pointing that direction,” said Adrielle Herring, the spokesperson for the congressman’s campaign, in a text message to The Salt Lake Tribune. “We ran a poll to check his viability in the Senate race. He won every ballot matchup regardless of who we put on the ballot.”
Herring added that “it’s a big decision” and Curtis is “taking a moment to decide whether he can do the most good for Utah in the House or the Senate.”
The congressman isn’t the only Republican considering a career change.
Brad Wilson, the outgoing speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, formally announced his candidacy in the 2024 U.S. Senate race on Wednesday. Wilson said this spring — months before Romney announced he wasn’t seeking reelection — that he was “exploring” a U.S. Senate campaign, although he had already filed as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission.
Wilson told a couple hundred supporters Wednesday evening that he would be a “conservative fighter” in Washington, criticizing “Joe Biden and radical leftists, as well as go-along-to-get-along Republicans” in Congress.
Republican Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs announced his Senate campaign in May, becoming the first to publicly say he was vying for the seat.
“I’m not a career politician, or a Massachusetts millionaire,” Staggs said then, taking a jab at Romney. “I’m a mayor, a businessman, husband and father who wants his children to grow up with the same opportunities that I did. And I’m running for United States Senate to make sure that they do.”
Another Republican mayor announced he was entering the race earlier this month, hours after Wilson announced his upcoming resignation as speaker to focus on campaigning. Roosevelt Mayor Rod Bird said in a statement, “We need to get federal spending under control and get back to the basics that have made our country great.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes was also rumored to be considering a Senate run, but earlier this month said he wasn’t going to enter the fray.
“That opens up an opportunity for a dear friend of mine who is a great conservative, patriot, and warrior to run and serve as the next Senator from Utah,” Reyes posted on X without saying who he was endorsing.
Tim Ballard — who has worked with Reyes on anti-human-trafficking operations with Operation Underground Railroad and considers Reyes a friend — is also considering launching a Senate bid.
But that campaign, if launched, could be off to a rough start. The embattled Ballard left Operation Underground Railroad following an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him, and The Church of Jesus Christ recently issued a rare condemnation of his behavior. Nearly two-thirds of Utahns are members of the faith.