The Washington Post

Mitt Romney does another favor for Orrin Hatch

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to campaign briefly with Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) on Friday. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

The Republican presidential candidate plans to travel to Salt Lake City on Friday for a brief photo-op alongside Hatch (R), a low-maintenance way for Romney to once again show his support for the senator, who's locked in a competitive June 26 primary with former state senator Dan Liljenquist.

The joint appearance comes a few days after Liljenquist attempted to tie himself to Romney, noting in a campaign appearance that he once worked at Bain & Co., which he referred to as “Mitt’s company,” according to local news reports. But Romney was long gone by the time Liljenquist briefly worked for the company. During that campaign appearance, Liljenquist name-dropped “Bain” and “Mitt” several times and mentioned he’s a big Romney supporter, the reports said.

Touting any personal or business ties to Romney works well for candidates in Utah, because of the state’s large Mormon population, and because of Romney’s leadership of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Romney also used to own a vacation home in the state.

As The Post’s Felicia Sonmez first noted this week, the Romney-Hatch relationship goes back several years, most notably to 2008, when the senator endorsed the former governor’s failed campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Romney returned the favor last September when he endorsed Hatch’s reelection and again in March, when he cut a TV ad for the senator’s campaign. Last month Romney also tapped Hatch to serve as a “special adviser on policy,” asking the senator to “serve as a surrogate for the Romney campaign and provide strategic policy advice on key economic issues.”

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Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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