Utah Mayor (and U.S. Senate Candidate) Trent Staggs Blasts Mitt Romney Over Debt Ceiling Deal

Riverton, Utah Mayor Trent Staggs (Credit: Trent Staggs)

When news broke on Wednesday that six-term Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) intended to resign his seat, one of the questions raised — in addition to who would replace him in Congress following a special election — was what that might mean for Utah’s 2024 U.S. Senate race. Former Massachusetts governor and GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney currently holds the seat and has hinted at plans to run for re-election in 2024.

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Sen. Mitt Romney quietly took the first step toward a reelection bid this week by filing a declaration of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. While the move is not a definitive indicator that Romney plans to run for another U.S. Senate term in 2024, it’s the strongest hint yet about his intentions.

The paperwork, a “statement of candidacy” filed on Tuesday, allows Romney to start raising and spending money for campaign purposes.

Romney has played coy when asked if he would seek a second term in 2024.

“The question for me is, what can I get done? I have a list of things I’m working on. I’ll make that assessment over the coming months, and sometime in the spring or summer, I’ll make that decision. I’m confident that I would win if I decide to run. I’ll have the resources, and I believe the people of Utah would be with me,” Romney said during an impromptu press conference at the Utah State Capitol in February.

But while Romney has the backing of Montana Senator Steve Daines (R) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), his fellow Beehive State Senator, Mike Lee (R), has declined to endorse him, and there has been speculation about possible GOP challengers, including Stewart, prior to his announced resignation.

Some potential challengers include Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, Brad Wilson, and former Congressman Jason Chaffetz. But there is one challenger who has formally declared to run for the seat: Riverton, Utah Mayor Trent Staggs.

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Riverton, which is part of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, boasts a population north of 45,000 — near double its population in 2000. Staggs, who is married and has two children, has served as the city’s mayor since January 2018, having won a second four-year term in 2021.

Trent Staggs was elected mayor of Riverton, Utah, on November 7, 2017, after serving four years on the Riverton City Council. He was officially sworn into a second term of office on January 4, 2022.

Mayor Staggs was raised in a large family with nine siblings. He learned the value of hard work, communication, continuous improvement and financial responsibility early in life from his parents.

He attended Bingham High School and served a mission for his church in Tahiti. Working his way through college, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Utah focusing his studies in political science and economics, and he later earned an MBA from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University.

Professionally, Mayor Staggs has demonstrated the leadership necessary to run both successful start-up and Fortune 500 organizations in the direct sales, finance and technology industries for almost 20 years. He currently works on the advisory board of a publicly traded company, managing an operational unit in Utah. Prior to his current role, he served as Technology VP on the corporate leadership team of a global direct sales company that operates in over 35 markets and held management positions for a nationwide mortgage brokerage firm and at Morgan Stanley. He has also held a principal broker real estate license in Utah for over 15 years.

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Staggs, a fiscal conservative who formally launched his Senate bid in May, blasted Romney for signing onto the debt ceiling deal. Following the deal’s Thursday night passage in the Senate, Staggs issued the following statement:

In no scenario is adding $4 trillion to our debt a “win.” This dumpster fire of a debt deal manages to push us closer to a near inevitable bankruptcy while offering virtually nothing of substance in return. When we in Utah sent Mitt Romney to Washington, we did so on his promise to rein in federal spending, and once again, he has done the opposite.

Presumably, the 76-year-old Romney will announce his intentions regarding the 2024 Senate race soon — and should he determine to run again, he’ll be facing a motivated challenge from his conservative flank.

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