Trump Pick Ousted in Race to Replace Romney

( – Former President Donald Trump endorsed Trent Staggs in the race to replace Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). The candidate was always a long shot in the Mormon-heavy state, and the recent primary proved that.

On June 26, Republican Rep. John Curtis won Utah’s GOP primary. The candidate was in the best position to win the race from the time he entered it. The lawmaker has occasionally pushed back on Trump during his tenure in the House. He refused to support the former president during the Republican presidential primary. After the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, Curtis called for Trump to be censured. However, he did not vote in favor of either of his impeachments.

Curtis was elected to the House in 2017. He has made it clear that he wants Republicans to take climate change more seriously, even serving as the chairman of the Conservative Climate Caucus. Climate activist Jay Faison reportedly convinced the congressman to join the Senate race and helped fund a super PAC that supports him.

Staggs is the mayor of Riverton. Trump baffled his allies when he threw his endorsement behind the mayor ahead of the Utah GOP’s convention. The state party also endorsed him as their candidate. He struggled to make headway in the race despite the heavy-hitting endorsements.

Ahead of the race, one Utah-based Republican operative told The Hill that everyone knew it was “Curtis’ race to lose” because “Staggs [had] to pitch a perfect game to win.” The unnamed operative said Trump miscalculated when he endorsed the mayor. Instead, he and others believed the former president should have thrown his weight behind businessman Jason Walton. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) reportedly asked Trump to support Walton ahead of the primary but he had other ideas.

Curtis will face off against Democrat Caroline Gleich in November. Like the primary, the general election is his to lose.

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