Apparently, Mitt Romney is no shoo-in to win his bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Utah.
If you were expecting the 2012 Republican presidential nominee to experience a cakewalk at the Utah Republican Convention, thus avoiding a primary election – surprise, surprise. He actually lost the popular vote of delegates by a margin of 51-49 in favor of state Rep. Mike Kennedy.
Now the two will face off in a statewide primary election to see who runs against the Democrat nominee.
A candidate must secure 60 percent of the vote at the convention to avoid a primary.
Romney blamed his second-place finish – out of a dozen Republicans seeking the seat of retiring seven-term Sen. Orrin Hatch – on delegates’ dislike of candidates like him who hedge their convention bids by also gathering signatures to ensure at least a place on the primary ballot.
Romney collected more than 28,000 signatures and was the only Senate candidate to do so.
“I know there were many people who were not enthusiastic about someone gathering signatures,” Romney said. But, pursuing the nomination through the convention and signature gathering “was right for me. I’m glad I did it that way.”
Amid references to the Romney vs. Kennedy battle being akin to a David vs. Goliath, Romney had a good line: “First, none of us is David. David was anointed of God. And secondly, I’m not Goliath. Washington, D.C., is the Goliath.”
For his part, Kennedy handed out “stress stones” to delegates, dubbed them the true Davids and claimed for himself the role of the stone that they could use to bring down the giant of the Washington establishment.
The state lawmaker certainly was the underdog by the traditional measure of name recognition and campaign funding. Romney reported spending $526,516 of the $1 million he transferred from his leftover presidential account. Kennedy reported an outlay of $31,500.
“I’m tired,” Kennedy told delegates before the last vote. “You know what I’m really tired of? I’m tired of business as usual in Washington, D.C. If you want things to change, you need to vote for change.”