Utah could be Steve Bannon’s next battleground, especially if Mitt Romney runs

Romney is a symbol of the political establishment Breitbart News reviles.


Stephen Bannon needs a new project, and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, might have just given him one by announcing Tuesday that he will not seek re-election this year. 

Bloomberg News reported in October that Bannon was planning to play in almost every Republican Senate primary contest, anyway, but a couple of the Breitbart News chief's would-be targets — Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. — have said that they plan to leave Washington without a fight. 

What fun is that? 

The race to succeed Hatch in Utah could represent an irresistible challenge for Bannon, especially if Mitt Romney runs. As I have noted before, Romney and Breitbart News were very friendly in 2012, when the former Massachusetts governor was the GOP presidential nominee. But since Romney lost to Barack Obama — an event that roughly coincided with Bannon assuming control of Breitbart — Romney has become a symbol of the political establishment Breitbart reviles. 

When Romney opposed Roy Moore, Bannon's favored candidate in last month's special election for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, Bannon hit Romney with a personal attack. 

"You hid behind your religion," Bannon said at a rally for Moore, referring to Romney's Mormon faith. "You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam." 

Just imagine what Bannon might say if Romney actually becomes a candidate for office. 

Bannon, of course, would need to find a Romney opponent to back — ideally one who won't be accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, like Moore, or cozy up to white supremacists, like Paul Nehlen, a challenger to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., whom Breitbart supported in 2016. 

The good news for Bannon is that expectations would be low for any candidate running against Romney, who is highly popular in Utah. The last candidate Bannon supported in Utah, President Donald Trump, won the state in the 2016 general election but finished third in the Republican primary, 55 points behind Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and just behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

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.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Florida man asking for help to get back his stolen firefighter training gear
Florida man asking for help to get back his stolen firefighter training gear

A Jacksonville man said all of his firefighter training gear was inside his car when it was stolen for the second time in just a few months. Anel Muratovic wants to join the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. He is just a few months away from finishing a firefighter training program at First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine. “So...
Melania Trump poses with Bushes, Clintons and Obamas at Barbara Bush funeral
Melania Trump poses with Bushes, Clintons and Obamas at Barbara Bush funeral

The current first lady posed for a picture with former first ladies and past presidents Saturday at Barbara Bush’s funeral. First Lady Melania Trump is seen in the image, taken by photographer Paul Morse, with the Bushes, Clintons and Obamas. Trump, who attended the funeral without her husband, is seen standing alongside Michelle Obama....
CNN’s Tapper has emerged as a staunch defender of facts in Trump era. So why is he writing fiction?
CNN’s Tapper has emerged as a staunch defender of facts in Trump era. So why is he writing fiction?

Jake Tapper doesn’t seem to get rattled easily. He’s got a TV anchor’s unflappable poise and immovable hair, and radiates an almost eerie calm when a dozen explosive stories break during his daily CNN show. He’s weathered relentless online attacks from the right for his interrogations of Trump administration officials, and seemed...
Lyrid meteor shower 2018: 8 stunning photos of the celestial display
Lyrid meteor shower 2018: 8 stunning photos of the celestial display

This year's Lyrid meteor shower reached its peak this weekend, and photographers flocked to social media to share some stunning snapshots of the celestial display. See the images below:
Waffle House shooting: 4 dead after nude gunman opens fire in Tennessee; victims identified
Waffle House shooting: 4 dead after nude gunman opens fire in Tennessee; victims identified

At least four people are dead after a shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee. Killed were Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, a Waffle House employee who was outside the restaurant when the gunman opened fire; Joe R. Perez, 20, of Nashville, who was a patron standing outside the restaurant; Akilah Dasilva, 23, of Antioch, who was wounded inside the...
More Stories