EXCLUSIVE: The race to replace retiring Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is gaining steam as another candidate has tossed his hat into the fold, the first since the senator said last week he wouldn’t run for re-election.
Speaking with Fox News Digital, Roosevelt, Utah Mayor Rod Bird, Jr., a Republican, ripped Romney’s tenure in office, arguing the senator didn’t do what he said he would do when first elected in 2018.
“When Romney ran, he campaigned on conservative values and gave a lot of people in our state hope,” Bird said “Many believed he would fight for us, but in many ways he sold us out and didn’t keep his word.”
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Roosevelt, Utah Mayor Rod Bird, Jr. and Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. (Getty Images, Rod Bird, Jr.)
Bird — who has served as Roosevelt’s mayor since 2018 — says he hopes to run a campaign based on the “spirit of small-town values” and “principles of individualism, limited government, and freedom.”
“We have a lot of career politicians in Washington serving their own agenda,” he said. “[Romney] was quick to march with radical groups like Black Lives Matter, when he should have been walking down Main Street and talking with small businesses and working families struggling across our state.”
“My campaign won’t be about him or personalities, it will be about standing up for our God-given, constitutional freedoms and fighting for working families, small businesses, and everyday people who are struggling due to Joe Biden’s failed policies.”
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Roosevelt, Utah Mayor and Republican Senate candidate Rod Bird, Jr. (Rod Bird, Jr.)
Bird said he grew up in extreme poverty, and that his family even had to live in a 10×20 foot shed after their home was lost in a fire. Since then, he has built the oil and gas supply company Paragon Oilfield Products, which made him a multi-millionaire.
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As Roosevelt’s mayor, Bird has made a name for himself as a staunch opponent of government mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as pushing to lower taxes for its citizens.
“I grew up with the belief that in America you truly can come from nothing and make what you want of your life,” he told Fox. “I still wear boots and jeans to work every day. I’m someone that understands the struggles of everyday Utahns because I’ve lived them.”
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In announcing his candidacy in the race, Staggs became the first person to publicly pose a challenge to Romney, who has angered many voters within his own party for his reasoning and support for certain policies and bills. (Trent Staggs)
Romney’s retirement has launched a frenzy of Republicans looking to fill the seat with a more conservative candidate. Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson and Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs have signaled they were launching primary challenges against Romney earlier this year, but Staggs is the only other candidate to have officially launched a campaign for the seat.
Tim Ballard, the former Department of Homeland Security agent who inspired the hit film “Sound of Freedom” said Friday he was “very seriously considering” a run for the seat.
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Lacey Christ is a producer with “Fox News @ Night.”