A rather prominent Senate Republican and former GOP presidential nominee just announced that his lengthy tenure in the political arena, particularly in Washington D.C., will soon be coming to an end.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney revealed on Wednesday that he will not be running for re-election in 2024 and instead will retire at the conclusion of his current term in January 2025, Breitbart reported.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who unsuccessfully challenged former President Barack Obama in 2012 and became a pariah among much of the Republican base over his vehement opposition to former President Donald Trump, made it clear that he was preparing to step aside to make way for a "new generation of leaders" in D.C.
Sen. Romney made his announcement in a brief video posted to multiple social media platforms in which he began by touting his "accomplishments" over the past few years -- many of which were things that most Republican voters opposed or are of minimal importance -- at both the federal and state levels.
"I've spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another," Romney said. "At the end of another term, I'd be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it's time for a new generation of leaders. They're the ones who need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in."
"Now, we face critical challenges -- mounting national debt, climate change, and the ambitious authoritarians of Russia and China," he continued. "Neither President Biden nor former President Trump are leading their party to confront them."
"On the deficits and debt, both men refuse to address entitlements even though they know that this represents two-thirds of federal spending. Donald Trump calls global warming a hoax and President Biden offers feel-good solutions that make no difference to the global climate. On China, President Biden underinvests in the military and President Trump underinvests in our alliances. Political motivations too often impede the solutions that these challenges demand. The next generation of leaders must take America to the next stage of global leadership."
Romney went on to note that he would continue working on those and other issues through the conclusion of his term and said it was a "profound honor" to represent the state of Utah at the national level.
According to Politico, a "mad dash" of prospective replacements for Sen. Romney had already begun even before his retirement announcement, as he was likely to face a tough and potentially crowded GOP primary field if he had decided to run for another term in the U.S. Senate.
Leading that pack is State House Speaker Brad Wilson, who has already formed an exploratory committee and raised more than $2.2 million for a senate campaign, but close on his heels is Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, though he has only raised about a tenth of what Wilson has in campaign funding.
They certainly are not alone, however, and Politico noted that a substantial battle is shaping up between conservatives and moderates in regard to who will control the Utah Republican Party and its soon-to-be-open seat in the Senate.
Utah's Deseret News, in responding to Romney's retirement announcement, addressed the question of who might replace the outgoing senator in the 2024 election and listed off the names of nearly two dozen Republicans who may ultimately throw their hats in the ring, though some of those individuals have said they aren't interested or are unlikely to actually enter the race, much less gain any real traction with voters.
Of course, while Utah is fairly solidly red, it is not entirely a one-party state, and the outlet named no less than five prominent Democrats in the state who could seek their party's nomination to challenge the eventual GOP candidate and, perhaps, turn the state slightly purple by adding some blue to the congressional delegation.