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Brad Wilson mustering support from Utah politicos in possible Senate bid

By Tim Vandenack - | Aug 11, 2023

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, opens the 2022 general session of the Utah Legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

House Speaker Brad Wilson may still be deciding whether he vies for the U.S. Senate post now held by Mitt Romney, who’s similarly weighing his options.

But the Kaysville GOPer is already mustering backing from a broad range of Utah political leaders, including several Weber County and other Northern Utah lawmakers, as he edges toward a possible run. Wilson issued a statement Thursday listing 63 Utah House and Senate members who back him.

“The legislators come from all parts of the state showing the groundswell of support for (Wilson’s) potential candidacy. The legislators comprise three-quarters of Utah House Republicans and over two-thirds of Senate Republicans,” reads the press release.

Among the Wilson backers from Weber County, all GOPers, are Sens. Ann Millner of Ogden and Gregg Buxton of Roy as well as House Majority Leader Mike Schultz of Hooper. Reps. Matt Gwynn, Ryan Wilcox, Jason Kyle, Cal Musselman and Katy Hall, who represent portions of Weber County, also back Wilson. The lawmakers backing Wilson represent the totality of Weber County’s delegation with the exception of Sen. John Johnson, a Republican, and Rep. Rosemary Lesser, a Democrat.

Romney has said he plans to make up his mind on whether he seeks a second term over the summer or coming fall.

Wilson’s representatives said in a message to the Standard-Examiner on Thursday that Wilson will likely have an “announcement” in the fall. He formed an exploratory committee last April to look into the idea of running for the post Romney now holds, which comes up for election in 2024.

“Brad continues to travel across the state to build grassroots support and learn about the issues important to Utahns. He is also dedicating time to fundraising and building a campaign infrastructure,” reads the message.

As for money, Wilson had a potential campaign war chest of $2.14 million as of June 30, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Of that, $1.2 million came from Wilson’s pockets, a loan to himself. Romney had $1.57 million cash on hand, none of it loan funds.

Romney has been a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump. That’s alienated some Trump-backing Republicans in Utah but generated support from critics of the divisive former president, who plans to run again for the White House in 2024.

In the Wilson press release, Schultz called Wilson a “conservative champion.”

“Brad Wilson never takes no for an answer and will fight tirelessly to defend Utah values and our constitutional freedoms in Washington,” Schultz said.

Senate President Stuart Adams of Layton, also a backer, touted Wilson’s conservative credentials. “We have worked together to pass tax cuts for Utahns three years in a row, provide parents with unprecedented school choice and expand Second Amendment protections,” he said in the statement issued by Wilson’s reps.


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