Romney, Pawlenty, Bachmann revive 2012 memories with possible Senate runs

If President Donald Trump's election marked a radical new era for the Republican Party, the 2018 midterm elections mi...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 10:29 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 10:29 AM

If President Donald Trump's election marked a radical new era for the Republican Party, the 2018 midterm elections might offer something of a throwback.

Three candidates from the 2012 Republican presidential primary are now weighing Senate bids, including the eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who is expected to run to succeed Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. Two Minnesota rivals, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Rep. Michele Bachmann, are both weighing jumping into the race to name Sen. Al Franken's permanent successor.

Romney won the 2012 GOP presidential nomination and now may run for senator in Utah

Two 2012 rivals: Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann may run for Senate in Minnesota

RELATED: Trump begged Orrin Hatch to run again. The senator retired anyway.

The potential returns by Romney, Pawlenty or Bachmann present a test of old political brands in a new age. Should they decide to run, their presence might be a welcome bit of nostalgia to GOP voters fatigued by Trump's presidency; but they could also provide an unwelcome flashback.

Bachmann, a former Tea Party star, would likely run a campaign more in line with Trump's branding: In a recent interview with Jim Bakker, she predicted that "the swamp" would push back against her candidacy, an allusion to Trump's anti-Washington tagline, "drain the swamp."

Bids by Romney and Pawlenty, however, would mark a comeback for a quieter, more traditional sort of Republican campaign, featuring seasoned politicians with deep, longstanding connections among major donors and the national party.

The potential 2012 redux "is a reflection of the fact that both 2012 and 2016 saw incredibly strong classes of Republican presidential candidates," said Michael Steel, a Republican strategist and former Romney campaign aide.

Although Pawlenty and Romney would mark a stylistic break from Trump, Steel said, they would be "very much in line with the congressional Republicans in a lot of ways."

They would not be the first alumni of that election cycle to carve out a niche in the new political order. Trump picked Rick Perry as his Energy Secretary and sent Jon Huntsman to Moscow as the US ambassador to Russia. The President also considered naming Romney as secretary of state before settling on Rex Tillerson.

There is a question of how Romney, in particular, will fit into the Trump era in Washington, having emerged in 2016 as an outspoken critic of the then-Republican nominee and kept it up with Trump as President -- the brief dalliance for the secretary of state job aside.

That dynamic sparked a recent lobbying effort by the White House to encourage Hatch to seek another term in office. Now the President's allies are wary of Romney bringing an anti-Trump message to the campaign trail and perhaps the Senate.

Still, Utah might be uniquely positioned among Republican states to potentially elect a prominent Trump critic in the era of Trump: just 46% of Utah voters supported Trump in 2016.

"Obviously the die-hard Trump folks aren't huge fans" of Romney, said Boyd Matheson, former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. "But I think those who are avid Trump supporters also admire the fact that Mitt Romney is the only guy other than Mike Lee who has never flinched in terms of those core issues."

RELATED: Bannon on Romney: 'You hid behind your religion' to avoid Vietnam

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16560

Reported Deaths: 794
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds107426
Madison76728
Lauderdale75968
Neshoba72844
Jones70133
Scott66312
Forrest59539
DeSoto57510
Rankin4569
Leake45212
Holmes44330
Copiah3294
Jackson31415
Attala31118
Yazoo2964
Newton2884
Lincoln28031
Leflore27736
Oktibbeha27314
Harrison2697
Monroe26925
Wayne2623
Lamar2505
Lowndes2479
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20316
Washington1987
Warren19610
Lee1948
Noxubee1936
Covington1792
Bolivar16911
Jasper1674
Clarke15619
Smith15511
Kemper15511
Lafayette1544
Chickasaw14014
Coahoma1314
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1155
Lawrence1071
Grenada1074
Simpson1040
Yalobusha1046
Sunflower923
Tate911
Hancock9012
Union897
Itawamba897
Marshall873
Wilkinson859
Panola843
Montgomery841
Webster844
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun674
Amite661
Walthall640
Humphreys637
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Perry513
Choctaw502
Pontotoc473
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Greene331
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie301
George292
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18766

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2321118
Jefferson1901104
Montgomery185843
Tuscaloosa83616
Marshall7089
Franklin5858
Lee56234
Shelby52819
Tallapoosa43466
Butler42118
Walker3862
Elmore3749
Chambers36026
Madison3534
Unassigned3062
Morgan3021
Baldwin2939
Dallas2923
Lowndes26512
Etowah26312
DeKalb2573
Autauga2415
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2176
Pike2120
Colbert1902
Hale1859
Russell1810
Barbour1771
Marengo1756
Lauderdale1722
Calhoun1673
Wilcox1577
Choctaw15310
Cullman1521
Clarke1492
St. Clair1351
Randolph1287
Dale1240
Marion12411
Pickens1205
Talladega1195
Limestone1080
Chilton1071
Greene954
Macon934
Winston910
Jackson833
Covington821
Henry822
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington736
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe462
Geneva440
Perry430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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