As Romney fever rises about a potential Utah Senate run, I find myself reminiscing about the 8 years I spent blogging about Romney, his Mormon faith and what it meant to his presidential aspirations. His faith mattered a lot. In 2008 it was one of the roadblocks he encountered in getting himself over to a then largely Evangelical base in the Republican Party. In 2012 it was used to paint him as an unhip, stick-in-the-mud, fuddy-duddy against the hyper-cool Barack Obama.
But now, should he decide to run, the votes that count will all be Utah votes, and Utah votes only – a state that is by most estimates majority Mormon. In the 2008 Utah primary, Romney took 89% of the vote. In 2012, Romney took 72% of the Utah vote in the general election. In Utah Romney’s faith matters a lot, but in an entirely different fashion than most other places in the nation.
So, when I saw this headline from the Washington Post today:
Utah could be Steve Bannon’s next battleground, especially if Mitt Romney runs
I laughed myself silly. The piece is pure speculation – no sources quoted. Says the author of the piece:
Utah is a great state for Romney and a bad one for Bannon, which means that the former White House chief strategist would be under little pressure. If he could field a candidate who could avoid embarrassment and make Romney sweat — even a little — Bannon might be able to use the Utah race as a big stage to take some shots at the GOP leadership.
Uh, dude – 72%. “Embarassment” would be the least of a Bannon-backed opponents concerns, but thanks for the laugh.
ERRATA: In a previous version of this post I mistakenly quoted Romney’s primary returns in Utah as his general election returns.