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Rep. John Curtis says he won’t run for Mitt Romney’s Senate seat

Curtis made the announcement in the Deseret News Monday

SHARE Rep. John Curtis says he won’t run for Mitt Romney’s Senate seat
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, speaks during the Sutherland Institute’s 2023 Congressional Series in Orem on Aug. 22, 2023.

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, speaks during the Sutherland Institute’s 2023 Congressional Series in Orem on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Rep. John Curtis announced Monday he won’t run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Mitt Romney.

It was widely rumored Curtis might enter the race, and he said last week he was “very seriously” considering a run. But in an op-ed first published by the Deseret News Monday, Curtis said he won’t run for Senate and instead plans to run for reelection to his 3rd Congressional District seat.

“I will always be thankful to so many who reached out to encourage me,” he wrote. “Even considering a run for such an important office is an honor. To be viewed as a serious candidate has been exciting and humbling.”

But, he said, “if one is not careful, serving in D.C. will drain a little bit of a person’s soul each day. It happens so slowly that even those close to us don’t see it. It can pull at the emotional, spiritual and physical health of anyone who spends too much time in that environment.”

He said running for Senate doesn’t align with his “personal priorities.”

“(M)y marriage is great. My relationships with my kids, their spouses and my grandkids are great. And I want these relationships to be better. It’s the most important responsibility I have in this lifetime,” he said.

Curtis also said he believes he still has work to do in the House — especially with regards to his work on approaching environmental issues from a conservative perspective — and that he doesn’t want to become a “career politician.”

According to Curtis’ campaign manager, Adrielle Herring, he “made this decision for a few reasons.”

“He is on a roll in the House. He has become one of the most effective lawmakers in the body. But perhaps more importantly, Congressman Curtis loves the people of CD3 and feels a strong partnership with them. He’s relationship-driven and he wants to finish the work he undertook for the people who elected him,” she said.

Curtis’ announcement came the same day that Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson issued a press release saying he raised an additional $1 million for his campaign over the past three months, bringing his total cash-on-hand to over $3 million, including a $1 million loan from Wilson.

Wilson, who made his run for Senate official last week, was endorsed by more than 60 state Republican lawmakers earlier this year and also received a semi-endorsement from Utah Gov. Spencer Cox.

“I just love Brad. I don’t know what we call that. He doesn’t need my endorsement. He didn’t ask for my endorsement. It’s just I really like Brad and think he would be really good but right now I don’t even know who’s running yet. We’ll obviously make those decisions if he asks down the road,” Cox said at a recent press conference.

Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, who was the first candidate to announce he was running for Romney’s seat, last month received an endorsement from Kari Lake, a frequent surrogate for President Donald Trump who is herself running for Senate in Arizona.

Lake said she was backing Staggs for Senate because he is an “America first” candidate. Staggs has endorsed Trump in the 2024 presidential primary and has received the endorsement from national right-wing figures like Charlie Kirk and Mark Levin.

Who has declared their candidacy for the 2024 U.S. Senate race in Utah?

  • Trent Staggs is the mayor of Riverton, Utah. He has served in elected office in Riverton for 10 years, first as a city councilor and then as mayor.
  • Brad Wilson is the state House Speaker, a position he has held since 2018. He was first elected to represent Kaysville in the state legislature in 2010.
  • Rod Bird Jr. is the mayor of Roosevelt, Utah. Prior to his election in 2017, he founded Paragon Oilfield Products, which provides pipes and hoses for industrial and agricultural use.
  • Tyrone Jensen is a self-described political commentator who ran for Utah’s 2nd District seat in 2023 and 2020 as a Republican and as a write-in candidate in the 2018 Senate election.
  • Gabriel Blanco-Lobo is a data scientist in the Salt Lake City area, according to his LinkedIn.

Who else might enter the 2024 U.S. Senate race in Utah?

  • Kirk Jowers is the CEO and founder of ADDAX, an overlanding camper business. Jowers previously worked as president of North America for doTERRA, as director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics and as a legal counsel to congressional and gubernatorial candidates. Sources close to Jowers say he is considering a run.
  • Jason Chaffetz is a former congressman and currently works as a Fox News commentator and podcast host. He has also authored several books.
  • Carolyn Phippen is the executive director of Freedom Front, a pro-business lobbying group based in Utah. Utah GOP chair Rob Axson floated her name as someone who is seriously considering launching a Senate campaign.