Mitt Romney is postponing a highly anticipated announcement for U.S. Senate after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in South Florida.
Romney had planned to launch his campaign with a video on Thursday, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the plan. But after news broke that 17 people had died in a shooting at a Florida high school, Romney said he would delay the announcement "out of respect for the victims and their families."
Out of respect for the victims and their families, I will not be making an announcement tomorrow about the Senate race. (2/2)
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 15, 2018
Romney is widely viewed as a favorite to win the Senate seat, soon to be vacated by longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch. A poll released by UtahPolicy.com in November showed Romney winning the seat with 72 percent over likely Democratic candidate Jenny Wilson, who polled at 21 percent.
The numbers are similar to how Utahns voted in the 2012 presidential election, when Romney received 72.6 percent of the vote over Barack Obama’s 24.7 percent.
Romney originally signaled his intent to announce a Senate bid this Thursday in a tweet on Feb. 1.
Looking forward to making an announcement on February 15th about the Utah Senate race. https://t.co/OLXWZWREEK
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 1, 2018
Romney, a two-time presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, is also scheduled to speak at a Utah County GOP event Friday evening. It will be his first public appearance after announcing his plans.
The prominent Mormon has made several public appearances around the state in recent weeks, each time deflecting questions about his political plans.
In those speeches, Romney has praised the tax reform plan passed by Congress in December and called for more regulatory reform.