These Utahns are running for Mitt Romney’s seat in the U.S. Senate

A dozen candidates filed with the lieutenant governor’s office to compete for the open Senate seat.

Voters will elect a new Utahn to the U.S. Senate in 2024. That politicians will replace Sen. Mitt Romney, who announced in September that he would not run for reelection.

Several Republican candidates have filed to run for the seat, and the winner of the June 25 primary will face one of two Democrats, along with a third-party candidate, this November.

As the race passes its Jan. 8 filing deadline, the competition is already heating up as candidates loan themselves millions and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are the people making a bid:

John Curtis

Utah’s 3rd Congressional District representative doesn’t want to leave Washington yet — he just wants to move offices. Rep. John Curtis on Jan. 3 joined a crowded GOP field vying for Romney’s open Senate seat.

Curtis entered the race following a series of public back-and-forth statements weighing whether or not he would step into the Senate competition. The congressman said he made up his mind after he heard from “people from all walks of life reaching out to ask what is it going to take to get me to reconsider.”

Some of that encouragement included a political action committee called “Conservative Values for Utah” spending $89,000 in November on a television ad nudging Curtis to reverse course.

If he becomes a senator, Curtis would like to continue work he’s done advocating for conservative solutions to climate problems, and told The Salt Lake Tribune he would like to dive into social media and artificial intelligence regulation.

Caroline Gleich

Professional ski mountaineer Caroline Gleich visited Washington before to advocate for environment-friendly policies. Now she wants to make a more permanent home there as Utah’s next U.S. senator.

Becoming one of two Democratic candidates to run for Senate, the athlete and activist posts about her adventures — including summiting Mount Everest — along with climate concerns and human rights issues on her popular social media pages.

Gleich has previously spoken at rallies for policies to save the ailing Great Salt Lake and has organized a 1.9-mile “Run to Redistrict” through all four of Utah’s congressional districts to protest the electoral boundaries established by the Utah Legislature.

Her “vision for Utah,” a statement said, “is rooted in a commitment to creating positive change, with a focus on advocating for people and the planet, social and environmental justice, and elevating critical issues such as air quality, gender equity, climate action, and more.”

Brent O. Hatch

An attorney and former associate White House counsel to former President George W. Bush, Brent Orrin Hatch announced on Jan. 2 that he was filing for a chance to claim his late father’s seat in the Senate.

Hatch is a treasurer for the conservative and libertarian-minded Federalist Society, an organization of lawyers that has been known to influence decisions in the highest political offices in the country.

“Government cannot continue like it has for the past several years. We must take the budget, inflation and securing our borders more seriously,” Hatch wrote in a news release. “We need to elect people who have had real jobs, had to make payrolls and are not wed to lobbyists and the political class – people who speak plainly and use common sense.”

Robert Newcomb

Running under the ultra-conservative Independent American Party, Newcomb writes in a pinned post on his X profile, “As the U.S. Senator from Utah, I will prevent federal orgs from disregarding/disrespecting our 1st Amendment through censorship & social media manipulation. I will gladly defund/dismantle any federal org who tries.”

According to a biography on his website, Newcomb is a Navy veteran and works as a civilian engineer at Hill Air Force Base.

Carolyn Phippen

Carolyn Phippen, a former staffer for Sen. Mike Lee, lost a bid to unseat state Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, in 2022 and joined the Senate race in early November 2023.

Phippen, who was considered further to the right than the incumbent lawmaker, won GOP delegates’ support at last year’s convention before being defeated by her signature-gathering opponent in the general election.

“I’ve fought on the front lines of the conservative movement while raising a family,” Phippen said in a news release announcing her candidacy. “Now is the time to stand up for the principles that made our country great.”

She is the executive director of Freedom Front Utah, which aims to defend “free market principles for Utah businesses and employees.” Following the 2020 presidential election, Phippen went to Washington, D.C., to march in a “Stop the Steal” rally.

Josh Randall

Josh Randall, an accountant and an audit manager for the Utah State Institutional Trust Lands Administration, jumped into the race in early October.

On a campaign Facebook page, he wrote, “I’m running for U.S. Senate with a focus on strengthening families, encouraging everyone to live and vote their religious values, and shrinking the government to operate under a balanced budget.”

His website expands on that announcement, saying he stands for what he describes as “family values” — Randall supports abortion restrictions passed by the Utah Legislature, opposes gay marriage, and considers it “vital that our lawmakers understand that each of us is male or female.”

Trent Staggs

The day after he filed to run with the FEC in May, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs announced his candidacy on X, taking a swipe at Romney.

“I’m not a career politician, or a Massachusetts millionaire,” Staggs said in a video. “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.”

In 2020, Staggs ran an unsuccessful, Romney-endorsed campaign for Salt Lake County mayor, losing to Democratic Mayor Jenny Wilson.

In September, failed Arizona 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — and current U.S. Senate candidate — traveled to Utah to fundraise for Staggs. And on his website, he says he is endorsed by conservative political commentators Mark Levin and Charlie Kirk.

Staggs lists “smaller government,” “safer families” and a “stronger economy” as his priorities.

Chandler Tanner

Republican Chandler Tanner is an attorney and co-founder of Bookroo.com, a company that sells book subscriptions for children.

Brad Wilson

Former Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson announced he was exploring a Senate bid last April, filing with the Federal Election Commission as a candidate that same day. And then, five days after Romney said he would retire, released a statement saying he would step down from the Legislature to pursue the Senate seat.

Wilson held a campaign launch party in late September, where he told supporters, “If we don’t act in Washington, Joe Biden and radical leftists — as well as go-along-to-get-along Republicans — are taking us down dead-end streets. These dead-end streets are where schools are teaching our kids what to think instead of how to think, where government right now is handing out so much money that some people can live better lives with handouts than they can by going and earning a paycheck.”

An early August news release from Wilson’s exploratory committee boasted the support of several dozen “conservative Utah legislators,” saying they were endorsing and encouraging him to run. The former lawmaker, who’s made his fortune as a residential developer, has so far out-raised and out-spent his opponents while also loaning his campaign $1.8 million.

Others who have filed to run:

  • Archie Williams III (Democrat)

  • Clark S. White (Republican)

  • Carlton E. Bowen (Independent American)

This story will be updated as more Uthans enter the 2024 U.S. Senate race.

Help Utahns have access to trusted reporting this election year

The Salt Lake Tribune’s 2024 election coverage is free thanks to the generous support of donors. Give today to help continue this critical reporting.