Mike LeeMike Lee

Current Position: US Senator since 2011
Affiliation: Republican

The mission of my office is to drive the message of constitutionally limited government, while being accessible, responsive, and connected to the citizens of Utah. I will work to restore the federal government to its constitutionally limited scope by supporting a balanced budget amendment, term limits, earmark reform, entitlement reform, peace through military strength, and measures designed to promote energy independence.

Featured Video:
Mike Lee To Biden Nominee: Your Comments Are ‘An Insult’ To The Civil Rights Movement

Source: Government page


Current Position: US Senator since 2011
Affiliation: Republican

The mission of my office is to drive the message of constitutionally limited government, while being accessible, responsive, and connected to the citizens of Utah. I will work to restore the federal government to its constitutionally limited scope by supporting a balanced budget amendment, term limits, earmark reform, entitlement reform, peace through military strength, and measures designed to promote energy independence.

Featured Video:
Mike Lee To Biden Nominee: Your Comments Are ‘An Insult’ To The Civil Rights Movement

Source: Government page


Mike Lee 2

Source: Government page

Elected in 2010 as Utah’s 16th Senator, Mike Lee has spent his career defending the fundamental liberties of all Americans and advocating for America’s founding constitutional principles.

Senator Lee acquired a deep respect for the Constitution early in life while watching his father, Rex E. Lee, serve as the Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan. He attended most of his father’s arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, giving him a unique and up-close understanding of government.

Lee graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Political Science, and served as BYU’s Student Body President in his senior year. He graduated from BYU’s Law School in 1997 and went on to serve as law clerk to Judge Dee Benson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, and then with future Supreme Court Justice Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Lee spent several years as an attorney with the law firm Sidley & Austin specializing in appellate and Supreme Court litigation, and then served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Salt Lake City arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Lee served the state of Utah as Governor Jon Huntsman’s General Counsel and was later honored to reunite with Justice Alito, now on the Supreme Court, for a one-year clerkship. He returned to private practice in 2007.

Throughout his career, Lee earned a reputation as an outstanding practitioner of the law based on his sound judgment, abilities in the courtroom, and thorough understanding of the Constitution.

Lee and his wife Sharon live in Utah County, and have three children, John, James, and Eliza. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a two-year mission for the Church in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.


Senator Lee serves as the Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, and on the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining.

In addition, Senator Lee continues to lead Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee as the Ranking Member, after spending the last two Congresses as Vice Chairman and Chairman, respectively. He also serves on the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.




James V. Hansen Federal Building

324 25th Street, Suite 1410

Ogden, Utah 84401

Phone: 801-392-9633

Fax: 801-392-9630

Salt Lake City

Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building

125 South State, Suite 4225

Salt Lake City, UT 84138

Phone: 801-524-5933

Fax: 801-524-5730


Office of Senator Michael S. Lee

196 East Tabernacle Street Suite #21

St. George, UT 84770

Phone: 435-628-5514

Washington, D.C.

361A Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: 202-224-5444




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Voting Record

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Wikipedia entry

Michael Shumway Lee (born June 4, 1971) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Utah. A Republican, Lee has served in the Senate since 2011.

Lee began his career as a clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah before clerking for Samuel Alito, who was then a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. From 2002 to 2005, Lee was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Utah. He joined the administration of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, serving as the general counsel in the governor’s office from 2005 to 2006. Lee again clerked for Alito after he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2010, during the Tea Party movement, Lee entered the party caucus process to challenge incumbent three-term Republican senator Bob Bennett. He defeated Bennett and business owner Tim Bridgewater during the nominating process at the Utah Republican Party Convention. Lee won the Republican primary, and defeated Democratic nominee Sam Granato in the general election. He was reelected in 2016 and became the dean of Utah’s congressional delegation when Representative Rob Bishop retired in January 2021. Lee chaired the Joint Economic Committee from 2019 to 2021.[1]

Early life and education

Lee was born in Mesa, Arizona on June 4, 1971, the son of Janet (née Griffin) and Rex E. Lee. His family moved to Provo, Utah, one year later, when his father became the founding dean of Brigham Young University‘s J. Reuben Clark Law School. While Lee spent about half of his childhood years in Utah, he spent the other half in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. His father served first as an Assistant U.S. Attorney General (overseeing the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Ford Administration) from 1975 until 1976, and then as the Solicitor General of the United States (charged with representing the U.S. government before the Supreme Court during the first term of the Reagan Administration). Lee is of English, Swiss, and Danish descent.[2][3]

After graduating from Timpview High School in 1989, Lee attended Brigham Young University. He served as the president of BYUSA[a][4][5] serving together with his father, who was then president of BYU. He graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Lee then attended BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he was a member of the BYU Law Review and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1997.[5]

Legal career

After law school, Lee clerked for Judge Dee Benson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah from 1997 to 1998, then for Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Samuel Alito of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1998 to 1999. Lee then entered private practice at the Washington, D.C., office the law firm Sidley Austin, specializing in appellate and Supreme Court litigation. In 2002, Lee left Sidley and returned to Utah to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City, preparing briefs and arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He served as general counsel to Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. from 2005 to 2006. From 2006 to 2007, Lee again clerked for Alito, who had recently been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.[5] Afterward, Lee returned to private practice in Utah, joining the Salt Lake City office of the law firm Howrey LLP.[6]

As an attorney, Lee also represented Class A low-level radioactive waste facility provider EnergySolutions Inc. in a highly publicized dispute between the company and the Utah public and public officials that caused controversy during his first Senate election. Utah’s government had allowed the company to store radioactive waste in Utah as long as it was low-grade “Class A” material. When the company arranged to store waste from Italy, many objected that the waste was foreign and could be more radioactive than permitted. Lee argued that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution allowed the company to accept foreign waste and that the waste could be reduced in grade by mixing it with lower-grade materials, while the state government sought to ban the importation of foreign waste using an interstate radioactive waste compact. EnergySolutions eventually abandoned its plans to store Italian radioactive waste in Utah, ending the dispute, with the 10th U.S. Circuit court later ruling that the compact had the power to block foreign radioactive waste from being stored in Utah.[7][8]

U.S. Senate



Lee ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. When campaigning, he focused on the size of the federal government. He said the U.S. Constitution needed to be amended to create a flat-tax system and impose term limits on members of Congress. Senators would be allowed up to two terms and representatives up to six terms under the proposal.[9]

At the Republican State Convention, he received 982 votes (28.75%) on the first ballot, to Tim Bridgewater‘s 26.84% and incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Bennett‘s 25.91%.[10] Bridgewater won the second and third ballots to win the party endorsement. Both Bridgewater and Lee received enough support to have their names placed on the primary ballot.[10]

In the June 22 primary election, Lee won the Republican nomination with 51% of the vote to Bridgewater’s 49%.[11]

Lee won the November 2 general election with 62% of the vote to Democratic nominee Sam Granato’s 33% and Constitution Party nominee Scott Bradley’s 6%.[12]


Mike Lee speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on February 26, 2015.

Lee was reelected in 2016. He was endorsed by the Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.[13]


Potential GOP primary challengers to Lee include Becky Edwards, former member of the Utah House of Representatives; Henry Eyring, teacher at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and grandson of Henry B. Eyring; Jeff Flake, former US Senator from Arizona; and former Utah State Senator Dan Hemmert.[14]

Lee is an outspoken, energetic, controversial persona who can articulate constitutional principles with … clarity. Consequently, he attracts disgruntlement and passionate support. Objecting to Lee’s approach is easy but constructing a campaign to oust him is enormously difficult.


Scorecards and rankings

In 2011, Club for Growth gave Lee a 100% score.[15] He also received a 100% Conservative voting record for 2011 from the American Conservative Union.[16] The Heritage Foundation gave him a 99% score, tied for first with Jim DeMint.[17] He received a Liberal Action score of 38%.[18]

2016 presidential election

In March 2016, Lee endorsed Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primary. He was the first senator to do so. At the time, he said, “I expect I’ll be the first of many Republican senators who will endorse Ted Cruz. I’m confident more are on the way, and I welcome others to join.”[19] By June, after Trump had become the presumptive nominee, Lee had still not endorsed him, saying he needed “assurances” that Trump would not act as an “authoritarian” or “autocrat” and expressing frustration that Trump had “accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK”.[20][21]

2017 Alabama special election

On October 16, 2017, Lee endorsed Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama special election runoff to fill the seat of U.S. Attorney General and former senator Jeff Sessions.[22] Moore had been removed as the Alabama Supreme Court’s chief justice in 2003 for defying a federal order to remove an illegal Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. He was reelected chief justice in 2012. In May 2016, Moore was once again removed from the bench by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC), permanently via suspension for the rest of his term, making him ineligible for reelection,[23] for ordering state probate judges to ignore a U.S. Supreme Court decision.[24] In a 50-page opinion, the Court of the Judiciary denied Moore’s appeal of the JIC’s decision, and said his removal was necessary “to preserve the integrity, independence, impartiality of Alabama’s judiciary”.[25] Nevertheless, Lee praised Moore for his “reputation of integrity” and said he was essential to getting conservative legislation through the Senate. “That is why I am proudly endorsing Judge Roy Moore. Alabamians have the chance to send a proven, conservative fighter to the United States Senate,”[22] On November 9, 2017, Moore was accused of molesting a 14-year-old and other girls under age 18 when he was 32.[26]

On November 10, Lee asked the Moore campaign to stop using Lee’s endorsement of Moore in its ads.[27] Lee’s spokesperson said of the sexual misconduct allegations, “If these allegations are true, Judge Moore should resign.”[28] Later that day, Lee rescinded his endorsement of Moore.[29]

2020 presidential election

On October 28, 2020, Lee compared President Trump to Captain Moroni, a heroic figure in the Book of Mormon. Lee told rallygoers in Arizona: “To my Mormon [sic] friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni.” Lee went on to say that Trump “seeks not the praise of the world” and wants only “the well-being and peace of the American people.”[30] His comparison met with backlash. The overwhelming majority of comments on Lee’s Facebook accounts found it “shameful” or “blasphemous.”[31] In a followup Facebook post, Lee pointed out that he had praised Trump for his willingness to “threaten the established political order”,[32] but admitted that the comparison was “perhaps awkward” and recognized that his “impromptu comments may not have been the best forum for drawing a novel analogy from scripture.”[31]

After Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Trump refused to concede, and a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, Lee said that Trump should be given a “mulligan” (or a do-over) for his inflammatory political speech immediately before the storming of the Capitol.[33] Lee later defended his remarks, saying, “my reference to taking a ‘mulligan’ was not referring to Trump, but to Democratic politicians whose inflammatory comments had just been played for me on the air [on Fox News]. I used the term… to avoid needlessly inflaming partisan passions.”[34] On May 28, 2021, Lee voted against creating an independent commission to investigate the riot.[35]

Committee assignments

Committee on the Judiciary

Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Special Committee on Aging (2021–present)

Joint Economic Committee

Previous committee assignments

Political positions

Lee is a conservative Republican. The New York Times used the NOMINATE system to rank Senate members by ideology; Lee ranked as the Senate’s most conservative member.[36] GovTrack‘s 2017 analysis placed Lee on the right end of the spectrum, to the right of most Republicans, but to the left of a handful of Republican senators.[37] FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional votes, found that Lee voted with Trump’s positions on legislation 81.3% of the time as of July 2018.[38]

Democracy and election reform

In October 2020, Lee sent a series of tweets declaring that the United States is “not a democracy” and that “democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic] are.”[39] Some commentators argued Lee fundamentally misunderstood the terms “democracy” and “republic“.[40]

In March 2021, Lee said on Fox News that the For the People Act was “rotten to the core” and was “as if written in Hell by the devil himself”.[41][42] The act attempts to expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders.[43][44] It has been criticized by conservatives, including Lee, who believe its provisions improperly take power over elections away from state governments and give it to the federal government.[41][45]


In 2017, Lee voted for S.J.Res.34, a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” from taking effect.[46]


In September 2018, Lee was among six senators, including Jeff Flake, Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, David Perdue, Ben Sasse, and Bernie Sanders, to vote against a $854 billion spending bill that would avert another government shutdown. The bill included funding for the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education.[47]


Lee was part of the group of 13 senators drafting the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors.[48] He eventually came out against the bill, along with Senator Jerry Moran, bringing the “no” vote total among Republicans to four.[49] This effectively stopped any chance of the bill’s passage.[50]

Patriot Act

In February 2011, Lee was one of two Republicans to vote against extending the three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that deal with roving wiretaps, “lone wolf” terrorism suspects, and the government’s ability to seize “any tangible items” in the course of surveillance.[51] He voted in the same manner in May 2011.[52]

Social Security

In April 2011, Lee, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul proposed a plan to reform the U.S. Social Security retirement payment system. Workers born in 1970 and every year thereafter would have to wait until their 70th birthday to retire, and wealthy people would receive smaller monthly checks under the plan.[53] The proposal called for increasing the retirement age to 70 by 2032, and slightly reducing the benefits to upper-income recipients.[54][55]

Criminal justice reform

In 2013, Lee, Dick Durbin, and Patrick Leahy proposed a bill aiming “to focus limited federal resources on the most serious offenders”. The bill would reduce some minimum sentences for drug-related offenses by half.[56]

In November 2018, Lee criticized Senator Tom Cotton for his stance on the proposed First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill Lee supported. Cotton had said that the legislation “gives early release to ‘low level, nonviolent’ criminals like those convicted of assaulting police, even with deadly weapons”. Lee responded that “the First Step Act does not ‘give early release’ to anyone. Anyone claiming it does does not understand how the bill works.”[57] The bipartisan bill, drafted by Chuck Grassley, Lee, and Durbin, passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly, 360-59.[58] The bill intends to improve rehabilitation programs for former prisoners, and to give judges more “wiggle room” when sentencing nonviolent crime offenders.[59] The bill eventually passed the Senate and became law.[60]

Big Tech

Lee has worked together with his Democratic counterpart, Amy Klobuchar, to hold Big Tech firms like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon accountable for their growing power. They are working to revamp century-old antitrust lawsuits.[61]

We do find common ground on questions of policy, working out deals and contingencies we want to have. We get along quite well.

— Amy Klobuchar


In 2017, Lee was one of 22 Republican senators to sign a letter[62] to President Trump urging him to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.[63] According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Lee has received campaign contributions from oil and gas interests amounting to $231,520 and from coal interests in the amount of $21,895, for a total of $253,415 since 2012.[64] At a May 2016 event, Lee rejected the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, calling it “little more than a cheap public-relations ploy” by the Democratic Party.[65] Lee opposes a carbon tax to deal with climate change.[66]

In 2018, Lee defended Jim Bridenstine‘s nomination to head NASA. Bridenstine’s nomination was contentious, given that he rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and had no background in science. In defending Bridenstine, Lee falsely claimed that NASA disputed that there was a scientific consensus on climate change.[67] Since his confirmation, Bridenstine has said that he agrees with the scientific consensus on human contributions to climate change.[68]

On March 26, 2019, the Senate opened debate on the Green New Deal. When Lee took the floor, he called the plan absurd, comparing it to an image of Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor, and argued that having more babies was the real solution.[69][70][71] He also claimed that “the authors of the Green New Deal proposal are trying to suggest people should not have babies and I think that’s atrocious.” Deseret News noted, “the text of the [Green New Deal] resolution does not address population growth or suggest limiting the number of children people can have”.[72]

Foreign policy

As part of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2018, Lee, Bernie Sanders, and Chris Murphy co-sponsored a resolution “that would end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war“. Interviewed by The Hill, he said: “regardless of what may have happened with Mr. Khashoggi, we are fighting a war in Yemen that we haven’t declared, that has never been declared or authorized by Congress. That’s not constitutional.”[73] The Senate voted 60–39 to “formally begin debate on the resolution”, which would require the President to “withdraw troops in or ‘affecting’ Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda”.[74]

In April 2018, Lee was one of eight Republican senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan expressing “deep concern” over a United Nations report exposing “North Korean sanctions evasion involving Russia and China” and asserting that the findings “demonstrate an elaborate and alarming military-venture between rogue, tyrannical states to avoid United States and international sanctions and inflict terror and death upon thousands of innocent people” while calling it “imperative that the United States provides a swift and appropriate response to the continued use of chemical weapons used by President Assad and his forces, and works to address the shortcomings in sanctions enforcement.”[75] He criticized Trump for ordering the 2018 missile strikes against Syria in response to the Douma chemical attack, stating that he lacked the constitutional authority to do so without Congress’s permission because the U.S. was not in imminent danger.[76] Lee supported Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria in December 2018, saying that American forces should not have been in the country anyway without Congressional authorization. He said that the Obama administration had not made clear American objectives in Syria surrounding Assad’s future, and that he believed Trump’s claim that the Islamic State had been defeated.[77]

Lee has long been in favor of ending American involvement in Afghanistan. He signed a letter in 2011 urging Obama to withdraw troops from the country. In May 2017, he called into question a proposal from military leaders to send additional troops there, calling to mind previous times when more soldiers were sent to the country but which, according to Lee, failed to make a significant difference. Lee maintained that American involvement in the war has wasted thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.[78][79] In April 2021, President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 of that year.[80] At a virtual meeting later that month, Lee stated his support of Biden’s plan.[81]

In April 2019, after the House passed the resolution withdrawing American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Lee was one of nine lawmakers to sign a letter to Trump requesting a meeting with him and urging him to sign “Senate Joint Resolution 7, which invokes the War Powers Act of 1973 to end unauthorized US military participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s armed conflict against Yemen’s Houthi forces, initiated in 2015 by the Obama administration.” The group of Senators included Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, and others. Trump was expected to veto the measure.[82]

In June 2019, Lee was one of seven Republicans who voted to block Trump’s Saudi arms deal providing weapons to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Jordan.[83]

Lee has been considered a strong supporter of Israel.[84]

9/11 Responders Compensation Fund

On July 17, 2019, Jon Stewart and disabled construction worker John Feal criticized Lee and Rand Paul on Fox News for blocking a bill that provided Victims Compensation Fund support for disabled 9/11 responders. The fund was near exhaustion.[85][86] On the Senate floor, Paul objected to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand‘s request for the bill to be approved by unanimous consent; per Senate rules, such a request is rejected if any senator objects. Lee had placed such a hold on the measure, despite its 73 Senate co-sponsors.

Stewart and Feal, as well as leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Firefighters, tried to get both senators to withdraw their objections. “The people from the state of Kentucky and the people from the state of Utah deserve better”, Feal said. Stewart said, “We have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us, and maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries. … There [are] some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community, the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors, all of a sudden … we gotta go through this.”[85] On July 23, 2019, Lee was one of two senators to vote against the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.


In February 2019, Lee was one of 16 senators to vote against[why?] legislation preventing a partial government shutdown and containing $1.375 billion in funding for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border that included 55 miles of fencing.[87] In that same month, he and Senator Kamala Harris removed the per-country cap on employment-based green cards and raised the cap on family-based green cards from 7% to 15%.[88]

In March 2019, Lee was one of 12 Republican senators to vote to block Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have granted him access to $3.6 billion in military construction funding to build border barriers.[89]

Supreme Court

In March 2019, Lee was one of 12 senators to cosponsor a resolution that would impose a constitutional amendment limiting the Supreme Court to nine justices. The resolution was introduced after multiple Democratic presidential candidates expressed openness to the idea of increasing the seats on the Supreme Court.[90]

In September 2020, less than two months before that year’s presidential election, Lee supported an immediate Senate vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s death. In March 2016, eight months before the 2016 election, Lee took the opposite position, declining to consider Obama’s Supreme Court nominee during a presidential election year, citing “the contentious presidential election already well underway”.[91]


In January 2018, Lee was one of 36 Republican senators to sign a letter to Trump requesting that he preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by modernizing it for the economy of the 21st century.[92]

In November 2018, Lee was one of 12 Republican senators to sign a letter to Trump requesting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (the replacement to NAFTA) be submitted to Congress by the end of that month to allow a vote on it before the end of the year as they were concerned “passage of the USMCA as negotiated will become significantly more difficult” if it had to be approved by the incoming 116th United States Congress.[93]


In 2018, Lee condemned the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS), for recommending that Costa Rica legalize same-sex marriage. The court’s decision was spurred by a petition by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, who was working on ways to improve LGBT rights in Costa Rica. Lee suggested that the U.S., a primary funder of the OAS, should use its money more wisely and do more to safeguard religious liberties worldwide.[94]

In May 2019, Lee called the Equality Act “counterproductive” and argued it “unnecessarily pits communities against each other”.[95]

Personal life

Lee is the son of Rex E. Lee, who was Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan, founding dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School and president of Brigham Young University.

Lee married Sharon Burr in 1993. They live in Alpine, Utah, and have three children.[5] Lee is a second cousin to former Democratic U.S. Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Tom Udall of New Mexico, as well as former Republican senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon.[96]

As a young adult, Lee served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.[5]

On October 2, 2020, Lee announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.[97] A few days earlier, he had attended an event for Amy Coney Barrett at the White House where he interacted closely with a number of other people who tested positive for COVID-19. Lee did not wear a mask and video footage showed him hugging others at the event.[98]

Lee has served on the BYU alumni board, the BYU Law School alumni board, and as a longtime member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He earned the Eagle Scout award from Boy Scouts of America in 1989 and was selected to receive the National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (NOESA) in 2011.[99]

Electoral history

State Republican I Convention results, 2010[100][101][102]
CandidateFirst ballotPct.Second ballotPct.Third ballotPct.
Mike Lee98228.75%122535.99%138342.72%
Tim Bridgewater91726.84%127437.42%185457.28%
Bob Bennett88525.91%90526.99%Eliminated
Cherilyn Eagar54115.84%Eliminated
Merrill Cook491.43%Eliminated
Leonard Fabiano220.64%Eliminated
Jeremy Friedbaum160.47%Eliminated
David Chiu40.12%Eliminated
State Republican Primary results[103]
Republican Mike Lee 98,512 51.2%
RepublicanTim Bridgewater93,90548.8%
Total votes192,417 100.0%
United States Senate election in Utah, 2010[104]
Republican Mike Lee 390,179 61.56% -7.18%
DemocraticSam Granato207,68532.77%+4.37%
ConstitutionScott Bradley35,9375.67%+3.78%
Total votes633,801 100.00%
Republican holdSwing
United States Senate election in Utah, 2016[105]
Republican Mike Lee 760,241 68.15% +6.59%
DemocraticMisty Snow301,86027.06%-5.71%
Independent American Stoney Fonua27,3402.45%N/A
UnaffiliatedBill Barron26,1672.34%N/A
Total votes1,115,608 100.00%
Republican holdSwing


Since his election to the Senate in 2010, Lee has published four books:

  • The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government (July 2011, Regnery Publishing)
  • Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare: A Conservative Critique of The Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling (June 2013, Threshold Editions e-book)
  • Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document (April 2015, Sentinel)
  • Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government (May 2017, Sentinel)

See also


  1. ^ comparable to student body president in most colleges


  1. ^ “Annual Reports – United States Joint Economic Committee”. www.jec.senate.gov. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  2. ^ Rucker, Philip (February 5, 2011). “Sen. Mike Lee: A political insider refashions himself as tea party revolutionary”. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Litvan, Laura (February 28, 2012). “Obama’s Nominee Battle a One-Man Fight By Freshman Senator Lee”. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  4. ^ Callister, Laura Andersen (February 20, 1993). “Student Body Election Gives BYU Another President Lee”. Deseret News. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e “About Mike”. lee.senate.gov. Office of Senator Mike Lee. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  6. ^ “New Members 2010 – Utah”. The Hill. October 27, 2010.
  7. ^ Fahys, Judy (January 14, 2010). “Utah argues case to ban foreign nuke waste”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  8. ^ Vergakis, Brock (November 9, 2010). “Court: Compact can keep foreign nuke waste out”. KSL. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  9. ^ Flat tax, term limits on agenda for Bennett challenger, Herald Extra
  10. ^ a b Catanese, David (May 8, 2010). “Sen. Bennett loses GOP nomination”. Politico. Capitol News Company. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  11. ^ Gehrke, Robert (June 3, 2010). “Lee clinches GOP Senate nomination – Salt Lake Tribune”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  12. ^ “Utah Election results”. Electionresults.utah.gov. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  13. ^ Raju, Manu (December 22, 2014). “Tea partier braces for primary challenge from the establishment”. Politico. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb. “Meet the Republican challengers lining up to oppose Sen. Mike Lee”. Deseret News.
  15. ^ “Club for Growth Scorecard”. clubforgrowth.org. Club for Growth. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  16. ^ “2011 U.S. Senate Votes”. conservative.org. American Conservative Union. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  17. ^ “Scorecard”. heritageaction.com. Heritage Action for America. March 26, 2019. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012.
  18. ^ “Senator Mike Lee of Utah: Profile, Legislative Scorecard, Contact Information, News and Campaign Contribution Data for the 112th Congress”. That’s My Congress!. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  19. ^ “Cruz lands first Senate endorsement: Mike Lee”. Politico.
  20. ^ At several points during the 2016 primary, Trump publicly implied that Ted Cruz’s father had consorted with Lee Harvey Oswald[1].
  21. ^ Lee on lack of Trump endorsement: ‘He accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK’
  22. ^ a b Shelbourne, Mallory (October 16, 2017). “Mike Lee endorses Roy Moore for Senate”. The Hill. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  23. ^ Chappell, Bill (September 30, 2016). “Roy Moore Is Suspended For Rest Of Term As Alabama’s Chief Justice Over Same-Sex Marriage Stance”. NPR. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  24. ^ Lyman, Brian (April 26, 2017). “Roy Moore will seek U.S. Senate seat”. Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  25. ^ Biskupic, Joan (November 28, 2017). “Roy Moore’s Alabama court ouster rooted in credibility questions”. CNN. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  26. ^ McCrummen, Stephanie; Crites, Alice; Reinhard, Beth (November 9, 2017). “Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32”. The Washington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  27. ^ Sommer, Will (2017-11-10). “GOP senator asks to be taken off Moore fundraising appeals”. The Hill. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  28. ^ Burr, Thomas. “Hatch, Lee call on Alabama’s Roy Moore to drop his Senate bid if underage sexual allegations are true”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  29. ^ Watson, Kathryn (November 9, 2017). “Senators begin rescinding support of Alabama candidate Roy Moore”. CBS News. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  30. ^ Riess, Jana. “Sen. Mike Lee is just one example. Latter-day Saint men still like Donald Trump”. Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
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  33. ^ Thrush, Glenn (2021-02-09). “Senator Mike Lee of Utah suggests Trump should get a ‘mulligan’ for Jan. 6 speech”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  34. ^ Sen. Mike Lee says media twisted his words, and he didn’t suggest a ‘mulligan’ for Trump, Salt Lake Tribune
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  38. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
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  40. ^ Haltiwanger, John. “GOP senator said ‘rank democracy’ is bad for America at a time when Trump is behaving like an authoritarian”. Business Insider. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  41. ^ a b “Mike Lee says ‘For the People’ voting bill is ‘as if written in hell by the devil himself. The Hill. March 10, 2021.
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  43. ^ Overby, Peter (January 5, 2019). “House Democrats Introduce Anti-Corruption Bill As Symbolic 1st Act”. National Public Radio. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  44. ^ “With Control of Congress, Democrats Aim To Address Voting Rights”. Weekend Edition Sunday. NPR. January 24, 2017.
  45. ^ For the People Act’ proclaims democracy, but usurps democratic choices”. March 9, 2021.
  46. ^ “S.J.Res.34 – A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services. Congress.gov. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  47. ^ Carney, Jordain; Elis, Niv (September 18, 2018). “Senate approves $854B spending bill”. The Hill. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
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  49. ^ “Sen. Mike Lee to Vote No on Senate Health Bill”. lee.senate.gov. Office of Senator Mike Lee. July 17, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
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  52. ^ “Senate Vote 84 – To Extend Provisions of the Patriot Act”. The New York Times. May 26, 2011. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
  53. ^ Canham, Matt (April 13, 2011). “Lee unveils Social Security reform plan”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  54. ^ “Lee, others: raise social security age to 70”. The Spectrum. April 13, 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2011.[dead link]
  55. ^ Viviane Vo-Duc (April 14, 2011). “Sens. Lee, Paul and Graham: We can fix Social Security without raising taxes”. Deseret News. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  56. ^ Dagan, David (November 14, 2013). “Why Mike Lee is more serious about prison reform than Rand Paul”. The Washington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  57. ^ Daugherty, Owen. “GOP senator accuses fellow Republican of spreading ‘fake news’ about criminal justice reform bill”. The Hill. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  58. ^ Mark, Michelle (November 16, 2018). “Trump’s support of a major sentencing reform bill sparks rare moment of bipartisan hope — but advocates warn the bill has a long way to go”. Business Insider. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  59. ^ Burke, Caroline (November 15, 2018). “Everything You Need To Know About The Criminal Justice Reform Bill Trump’s Backing”. Bustle. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  60. ^ Lartey, Jamiles (December 21, 2018), “Trump signs bipartisan criminal justice overhaul First Step Act into law”, The Guardian, retrieved October 3, 2020.
  61. ^ “Unlikely Senate alliance of Amy Klobuchar, Mike Lee paints a bull’s-eye on Big Tech”. Seattle Times. May 16, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  62. ^ “Senators Send Letter to President Trump Calling for Withdrawal Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement”. epw.senate.gov. United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. May 25, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  63. ^ “Sen. Mike Lee: President Trump put people before Paris agreement”. PBS NewsHour. June 1, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  64. ^ McCarthy, Tom; Gambino, Lauren (June 1, 2017). “The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings”. The Guardian. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  65. ^ “Updates From Senator Lee’s Office”. Sentinel News. May 31, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  66. ^ Rampell, Catherine (November 26, 2018). “Republicans say they want free-market innovation. Then they should want a carbon tax”. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  67. ^ Atkin, Emily (November 1, 2017). “Republican senator: NASA disputes climate consensus. NASA: No we don’t”. The New Republic. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  68. ^ Koren, Marina (May 17, 2018). “Trump’s NASA Chief: ‘I Fully Believe and Know the Climate Is Changing. The Atlantic. Archived from the original on May 18, 2018. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  69. ^ Burr, Thomas (March 26, 2019). “Sen. Mike Lee criticizes the Green New Deal with poster of Ronald Reagan riding a dinosaur and firing a machine gun”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  70. ^ Nguyen, Tina (March 27, 2019). Don’t Kill It Too Badly’: Republicans Weigh the Optics of Icing A.O.C.” Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  71. ^ “Remarks on the Green New Deal”, Senator Mike Lee, 2019-03-26, retrieved 2019-04-01
  72. ^ Hoeven, Emily (March 27, 2019). “Twitter reacts to Sen. Mike Lee’s Green New Deal speech”. Deseret News. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  73. ^ Kheel, Rebecca; Carney, Jordain (November 28, 2018). “Senate advances Yemen resolution in rebuke to Trump”. The Hill. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  74. ^ Carney, Jordain (December 12, 2018). “Senate moves toward vote on ending support for Saudi-led war”. The Hill. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  75. ^ Mitchell, Ellen (April 13, 2018). “Key senators warn Trump of North Korea effort on Syria”. The Hill. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  76. ^ Romboy, Dennis (April 16, 2018). “Sen. Mike Lee questions president’s authority to attack Syria”. Deseret News. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  77. ^ Hains, Tim (December 20, 2018). “Sen. Mike Lee on Syria Withdrawal: By Definition, This Is The Opposite Of An Obama-Like Decision”. RealClearPolitics. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  78. ^ Greenwood, Max (May 13, 2017). “GOP senator presses Trump on Afghanistan policy”. The Hill. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  79. ^ Romboy, Dennis (February 12, 2020). “Sen. Mike Lee on prolonged Afghanistan War: ‘Let’s end it. Deseret News. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  80. ^ “Biden to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021”. Washington Post.
  81. ^ Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Chris Stewart hold virtual town hall, Fox 13 SLC
  82. ^ Haitiwanger, John (April 6, 2019). “Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, Ro Khanna, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Trump imploring him to end US support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen”. Business Insider. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  83. ^ Carney, Jordain (June 20, 2019). “Senate votes to block Trump’s Saudi arms sale”. The Hill. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  84. ^ Keinon, Herb (December 17, 2010). “Netanyahu meets with Tea Party ‘darling’ Mike Lee”. TJerusalem Post.
  85. ^ a b Chiu, Allyson (July 18, 2019). “Jon Stewart accuses Rand Paul of ‘fiscal responsibility virtue signaling’ in stalling 9/11 victims funding”. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  86. ^ Goodkin, Nicole (July 18, 2019). “Two Republicans Blocked 9/11 Victims Funding Because They Say It Would Cost Too Much”. Newsweek. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  87. ^ Carney, Jordain (February 14, 2019). “Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown”. The Hill. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  88. ^ Boehm, Eric (February 8, 2019). “Mike Lee Teams Up With Kamala Harris to Scrap Green Card Caps”. Reason. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  89. ^ Bolton, Alexander (March 14, 2019). “12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration”. The Hill. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  90. ^ Carney, Jordain (March 25, 2019). “Senate GOP proposes constitutional amendment to keep SCOTUS at 9 seats”. The Hill. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  91. ^ Desjardins, Lisa (September 22, 2020). “What every Republican senator has said about filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year”. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  92. ^ Needham, Vicki (January 30, 2018). “Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA”. The Hill. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  93. ^ Everett, Burgess (November 21, 2018). “GOP senators seek quick passage of Mexico-Canada trade deal”. Politico. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  94. ^ Romboy, Dennis (January 17, 2018). “Sen. Mike Lee questions international court opinion favoring gay marriage in Costa Rica”. Deseret News. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  95. ^ O’Connor, Lydia (May 17, 2019). “GOP Senator Calls Equality Act For LGBTQ Rights ‘Counterproductive. HuffPost. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  96. ^ Lee Davidson (October 24, 2010). “Senate race: Mike Lee ready to ride Senate roller coaster”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  97. ^ Schroeder, Robert (October 2, 2020). “Utah Sen. Mike Lee tests positive for coronavirus”. MarketWatch. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  98. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Edmondson, Catie (October 2, 2020). “Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee test positive for the virus”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  99. ^ “Eagles Nest NOESA”. NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. Boy Scouts of America, Utah National Parks Council. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  100. ^ “Senate Race: 1st Round Results”. blog.utgop.org. Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2010
  101. ^ “Senate Race: 2nd Round Results”. blog.utgop.org. Archived from the original on May 10, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2010
  102. ^ “Senate Race: 3rd Round Results”. blog.utgop.org. Archived from the original on May 12, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2010
  103. ^ Utah Election Results Archived June 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  104. ^ “Election results”. elections.utah.gov. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  105. ^ “Utah Election Official Results” (PDF). Utah Secretary of State. Retrieved December 28, 2016.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Bennett
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Utah
(Class 3)

2010, 2016
Most recent
Preceded by
Pat Toomey
Chair of the Senate Republican Steering Committee
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Bob Bennett
U.S. senator (Class 3) from Utah
Served alongside: Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney
Preceded by
Erik Paulsen
Chair of the Joint Economic Committee
Succeeded by
Don Beyer
Honorary titles
Preceded by
George LeMieux
Baby of the Senate
Succeeded by
Brian Schatz
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Richard Blumenthal
United States senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Brian Schatz


National Security

Protecting the American people from foreign threats is a fundamental function of the federal government. In crafting the U.S. Constitution, our Founders understood the immense power and control vested in the ability to raise and command an Army and Navy as well as to declare war. While the President serves as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Congress is the only branch with the power to declare war and raise a military through the power of the purse. This authority was given to Congress because it is the branch held most accountable by the people.

Congress and the President also share the responsibility of engaging with foreign nations. Congress is explicitly charged with the power to regulate foreign commerce, and the Senate’s power to ratify treaties and offer advice and consent on ambassador nominations serves as a check on the President’s diplomatic power.

Over the years, the checks and balances and appropriate division of this power has weakened, resulting in a concentration of both defense and foreign relations powers in the executive branch. Therefore, one of Senator Lee’s missions is to reassert and reinvigorate the constitutional role of Congress in shaping U.S. military and foreign policy. He continues to lead major legislation on war powers, military spending, and restraining international institutions. He believes very strongly that actions that would put American blood and treasure on the line must be debated and discussed where the risks and benefits can be carefully weighed and the American people can influence such decisions through their elected leaders. The U.S. Congress is the only body that meets both parameters.

Another major component of protecting our national security and sovereignty is securing our borders. We must know who is entering and exiting our country to protect Americans domestically and ensure that we enforce our immigration laws so as not to incentivize those who want to enter the United States to do so illegally.

While the Framers understood the importance of national security, they also understood that protecting civil liberties by limiting the government’s power to search and spy on its citizens was an essential protection against tyranny. As James Madison said when framing a government where men govern men “the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself.” Senator Lee believes the federal government must follow warrant requirements enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to protect Americans against unauthorized government surveillance and preserve the civil liberties granted by our Constitution.

Natural Resources

When Utah first entered the Union, a ratified agreement called the Utah Enabling Act stipulated that “public lands lying within said State… shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said State into the Union.” Unfortunately, the federal government has not held up its end of the bargain and has retained vast amounts of Utah acreage limiting Utahns’ ability to maintain, conserve, recreate, and responsibly produce on the lands within their own state.

Senator Lee believes much of this land should be transferred to the state as promised so that Utah’s natural resources can be better managed to conserve the land, provide for the state’s constituents, and serve its multi-use purposes. Utah has a great track record of responsibly managing public lands and caring for its environment, while ensuring economic prosperity for its communities, families, and industries dependent on access to the land, like agriculture, energy, and outdoor recreation.

As Utah’s population grows, access to the land will become even more urgent and necessary. Some will need to accommodate affordable housing, roads to ease congestion, schools, etc; other acreage that contains critical minerals and energy sources will need to be responsibly and safely tapped; and finally, others will need to be preserved for fishing, hunting, climbing, and other outdoor sports that bring families together and are simply a way of life in the west.

Additionally, Senator Lee believes the federal government should not pick winners and losers in the energy sector or agriculture sector and that the free market and the demands of the public will result in the most efficient use of funds, reliable supply of energy to fuel the country and food to feed our population, and innovative solutions to keep our environment clean and food supply safe. But again, safe, responsible, and reliable access to the land is necessary to accomplish this.


While the Constitution charges Congress with regulating interstate commerce, Senator Lee believes that authority should be used to ensure goods and services can be properly sold and traded amongst the 50 states and the rest of the world. He does not think it gives the federal government blanket authority to micromanage the country’s economy.

Congress should allow American businesses and families to thrive without the burdensome hand of government getting in the way. Workers succeed when businesses have access to the capital they need, and capital becomes more readily available when government is not overregulating or spending beyond its means.

Throughout our nation’s history, Americans have proven they have an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to better not only their own lives but the lives of their neighbors, local communities, and the world at large. Senator Lee believes Americans, not government, have built businesses, employed workers, supported families, and provided the ideas to improve the lives of each generation.

The federal government can appropriately help support the continuation of these successes by removing unnecessary regulations, increasing access to foreign markets through free and fair trade agreements, simplifying our tax code and making it more competitive, protecting the integrity of the dollar, and protecting American workers by ensuring our legal immigration system supplements our workforce only where there is a gap.

Jobs also depend on free markets, and free markets require vigilance to protect them from anticompetitive monopolies. Senator Lee, through his leadership on the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, works to ensure that our antitrust enforcers vigorously enforce U.S. law to protect consumers and free markets.

The Family

The family is the most basic and essential building block of American society, and strong families are the best predictor of financial, educational, and emotional success in life. Accordingly, Senator Lee consistently pursues policies that strengthen family ties and works to undo government interventions that penalize or weaken the family.

Since every human life holds innate and profound dignity and worth from conception, it is essential that the federal government respect each human life. Every individual deserves respect and protection to freely exercise and live out their religious and moral beliefs without fear of oppression or persecution as guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution.

The importance of the family and the social capital that comes from active, local communities motivates much of Senator Lee’s work – everything from tax policy to welfare policy to criminal justice reform. He believes America must renew civil society and the federal government should not crowd-out civil society’s role or Americans’ participation in associational life and the institutions that secure it.

For instance, Senator Lee believes the tax code should not penalize marriage, our entitlement system should not penalize parents, and our criminal code should provide flexibility to judges in sentencing non-violent offenders. Ensuring that the federal government places married couples and parents on a level-playing field as other Americans and provides those that have been convicted of non-violent crimes the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and return to their families and communities are important reforms that Senator Lee has made a focus of his work.


Access to affordable, high-quality healthcare is a critical component of a productive and vibrant society. Unfortunately, due to government intrusion, many Americans cannot afford the care and treatment they need.

Each of our 50 states has different populations with different health-care needs, so Senator Lee believes there is no reason all Americans should be forced to purchase the same “essential health benefits” package while shopping for health insurance. Good health-care policy is flexible and customizable, since what is essential to one family or individual may not be essential to another.

While Senator Lee opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, he believes the problems of federal intervention in the health-care sector started decades earlier. Exempting employer-provided health insurance from taxation was one of the first issues that inappropriately incentivized the employer-sponsored model over the individual consumer model. For many Americans, this has resulted in fewer insurance choices and has tied them to their jobs.

While immediately ending the tax deduction for healthcare provided through an employer would be unsettling for many Americans, Senator Lee believes its reform must be a topic for debate. But possibly the most important health-care reform needed is a liberalization of health savings accounts. Freeing these accounts from federal government restrictions could allow Americans to save more for their health-care needs, allow them to transfer from jobs without losing their insurance, and equip them to be more active and engaged consumers. With a more informed consumer base, its influence over the market could truly turn things around, improving quality, cost, and accessibility.

Additionally, Senator Lee believes Congress must reform the Food and Drug Administration to make medical devices and drugs (and their generics) available sooner and at a lower cost. Medicaid must also be addressed to ensure it is targeted for the truly vulnerable who are unable to provide for themselves, such as children, pregnant women, and the disabled; and reforms must be made to the Department of Health and Human Services so that all life, including the lives of the unborn and the elderly, is always protected.


Human capital – the knowledge, skills, and abilities of every person – is one of our nation’s greatest resources. Because an education is essential for many to pursue the American dream, Senator Lee believes reforms are needed to empower students and their families with options that best meet their unique needs.

Children’s first teachers are their parents, and parents must carry the primary responsibility to oversee and direct their children’s education. Therefore, it’s important that families have choices – whether that be home schooling, public school, charter school, private school, etc. – and the federal government should not incentivize one over another.

While the four-year formalized college education is held as the gold standard by many, it really shouldn’t be. For some it is absolutely the right route, but for others, higher education may not be necessary or they may be better served and prepared for work through an apprenticeship program or short-term, highly focused instruction. Again, Senator Lee believes choice and options are important. At the end of the day, higher education should prepare the upcoming generation for success in today’s workforce. For this to be accomplished and the cost of post-secondary education to decrease, greater transparency, accountability, and competition are needed.


American entrepreneurs and creators have made the United States the global leader in science and technology. Their innovation and advances in technology have transformed the quality of life of people throughout the world, including millions of Americans.

As technology improves and new and growing markets emerge, there will always be a temptation in Washington to expand the federal government’s regulatory role over the private sector and attempt to centrally control our innovation. However, Senator Lee believes a responsible approach to technology policy is one where the federal government restrains itself to its limited constitutional authorities and even then only acts in a manner that is narrowly tailored to address the specific challenge. This authority must be exercised carefully because government intervention tends to hinder, rather than empower, American innovators and can insulate the largest, most powerful companies from their competitors. As tech companies acquire more power and exercise more control over our access to information, our antitrust enforcers must play a more active role to promote and protect competition.

As the internet has grown and transformed how Americans share information, purchase and transport goods, and consume news, the federal government has needed and will continue to need to revisit debates over government regulation of speech, corporate conduct, competition, and transportation. If we want reforms to successfully combat discriminatory action, ensure competition, and crack down on obscene content to protect our children, all while preserving a fair marketplace and continued innovation, Senator Lee believes Congress must engage in robust debate, exercise its limited, proper role, and consider how its actions may lead to other consequences.

Second Amendment

The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the fundamental right “to keep and bear arms”.  The Supreme Court correctly interpreted this guarantee as an individual right as opposed to a collective right enjoyed only by colonial militias. Many gun control efforts threaten the rights of law-abiding Americans while criminals intent on hurting themselves or others continue to ignore the law. These efforts also harm the ability of Americans to protect themselves and their families, disproportionately hurting minorities and those living in high-crime areas. Senator Lee has led the fight against efforts to further restrict the ability of law-abiding Americans to exercise this fundamental right and he supports efforts to roll back existing gun control laws.


Mitt RomneyMitt Romney

Current Position: US Senator since 2019
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position(s): Governor for Massachusetts from 2003 – 2007

“Talk is cheap, but action is essential if we are to overcome the challenges facing our families, our state, and our nation. My record of getting things done in the private sector, community, and government is evidence that I can and will do what needs to be done for the people of Utah.” Mitt Romney

Featured Video:
Mitt Romney delivers remarks on Capitol breach



Current Position: US Senator since 2019
Affiliation: Republican
Former Position(s): Governor for Massachusetts from 2003 – 2007

“Talk is cheap, but action is essential if we are to overcome the challenges facing our families, our state, and our nation. My record of getting things done in the private sector, community, and government is evidence that I can and will do what needs to be done for the people of Utah.” Mitt Romney

Featured Video:
Mitt Romney delivers remarks on Capitol breach


Mitt Romney 2

Source: Government page

Senator Mitt Romney was sworn in as Utah’s newest senator on January 3, 2019. He currently serves on the Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; Homeland Security & Government Affairs; and Budget committees. On the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Romney serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. He is also a member of the Senate National Security Working Group.

Before entering public service, he led a successful business career as the co-founder of Bain Capital, a leading investment company, and the turnaround CEO of Bain & Company, an international management consulting firm.

Prior to serving as the Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, Senator Romney led the 2002 Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Winter Olympics and, with a team of volunteers and managers, helped turn the struggling Games into a Utah success story. He was a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and Republican nominee for president in 2012.

Senator Romney earned his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his JD/MBA from Harvard University. He is the proud husband to Ann, father to five sons, and grandfather to 25 grandchildren.


Committee on Foreign Relations

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was established in 1816 as one of the original ten standing committees of the Senate. Throughout its history, the committee has been instrumental in developing and influencing United States foreign policy, at different times supporting and opposing the policies of presidents and secretaries of state. Through these powers, the committee has helped shape foreign policy of broad significance, in matters of war and peace and international relations. Members of the committee have assisted in the negotiation of treaties, and at times have helped to defeat treaties they felt were not in the national interest. The committee also holds jurisdiction over all diplomatic nominations.

​​​​​​​For the 117th Congress, Senator Romney will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. He will also serve on the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and on the Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, which he chaired last Congress.

Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP)

The committee began in 1869 as the Committee on Education and in 1884 through the mid-1900s it was known as the Education and Labor Committee. In 1999, the committee officially became the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The committee is composed of three subcommittees, which have a broad jurisdiction over our country’s health care, education, employment and retirement policies. The HELP Committee jurisdiction encompasses most of the agencies, institutes, and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services; has primary jurisdiction over private retirement plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and over railroad retirement; and most federal labor and employment laws. The committee is also committed to ensuring our country’s workforce is prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century through a lifetime of learning for our citizens.

Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs (HSGAC)

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) is the chief oversight committee of the U.S. Senate. Over the years, HSGAC and its predecessors have dealt with a number of important issues, including government accountability, Congressional ethics, regulatory affairs, and systems and information security. In 2003, after the Homeland Security Act of 2002 established the Department of Homeland Security, the Committee adopted primary oversight of the creation and subsequent policies, operations, and actions of the Department. In this capacity, the committee has introduced and passed a number of bills to improve the Department of Homeland Security and ensure America’s safety, including the Homeland Security Act, implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, the Katrina Investigations, and the National Intelligence Reform Act, which revamped the intelligence community and created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2004.

Committee on the Budget 

Created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the Budget Committee’s principal responsibility is to develop a concurrent resolution on the budget to serve as the framework for congressional action on spending, revenue, and debt-limit legislation. The Committee is also responsible for the enforcement of this concurrent resolution and associated budget laws. Through the budget resolution, the Committee can also initiate and enforce the budget reconciliation process, a piece of legislation that is written to bring about specific identified fiscal goals. The Committee also holds hearings on the economy, oversight hearings to monitor the performance of government agencies, and hearings to consider nominations for the president’s Office of Management and Budget and tracks the appropriations process throughout the year to make sure that spending levels in appropriations bills conform to the levels set forth in the budget resolution.

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Wikipedia entry


Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American politician and businessman who has served as the junior United States senator from Utah since January 2019, succeeding Orrin Hatch. He served as the 70th governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and was the Republican Party‘s nominee for president of the United States in the 2012 election, losing to incumbent president Barack Obama.

Raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan by George and Lenore Romney, he spent over two years in France as a Mormon missionary. He married Ann Davies in 1969; they have five sons. By 1971, he had participated in the political campaigns of both his parents. In 1971 Romney graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University (BYU) and in 1975 he received a JD–MBA degree from Harvard.[2] He became a management consultant and in 1977 joined Bain & Company in Boston. As Bain’s chief executive officer (CEO), he helped lead the company out of a financial crisis. In 1984, he co-founded and led the spin-off company Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm that became one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) throughout his adult life, Romney served as bishop of his ward and later as a stake president for an area covering Boston and many of its suburbs.

After stepping down from Bain Capital and his local leadership role in the LDS Church, Romney was the Republican nominee in the 1994 United States Senate election in Massachusetts. After losing to five-term incumbent Ted Kennedy, he resumed his position at Bain Capital. Years later, a successful stint as president and CEO of the then-struggling Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics led to a relaunch of his political career. Elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney helped develop and later signed a health care reform law (commonly called “Romneycare”) that provided near-universal health insurance access through state-level subsidies and individual mandates to purchase insurance. He also presided over the elimination of a projected $1.2–1.5 billion deficit through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees and closing corporate tax loopholes. He did not seek reelection in 2006, instead focusing on his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Though he won several primaries and caucuses, Romney ultimately lost the nomination to Senator John McCain. Romney’s considerable net worth, estimated in 2012 at $190–250 million, helped finance his political campaigns before 2012, when he again ran for and won the Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first Mormon to be a major party‘s presidential nominee. He lost the election to incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama, losing the Electoral College by a margin of 206–332 and the popular vote by 47%–51%.

After reestablishing residency in Utah, Romney announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by the retiring Orrin Hatch in the 2018 election; he defeated state representative Mike Kennedy in the Republican primary and Democratic nominee Jenny Wilson in the general election. In doing so, he became only the third person ever to be elected governor of one state and U.S. senator for another state (the others are Sam Houston and William Bibb). Romney was sworn in on January 3, 2019. In the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump he voted to convict Trump,[3] and he voted to convict Trump a second time during his second impeachment trial.[4]

Early life and education

Heritage and youth

Willard Mitt Romney[5] was born on March 12, 1947, at Harper University Hospital in Detroit, Michigan,[6] one of four children born to automobile executive George W. Romney and former actress and homemaker Lenore Romney (née LaFount).[7] His mother was a native of Logan, Utah, and his father was born to American parents in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico.[8][9] Of primarily English descent, he also has Scottish and German ancestry.[10][11][12] A fifth-generation member of the LDS Church, he is a great-grandson of Miles Park Romney and a great-great-grandson of Miles Romney, who converted to the faith in its first decade. Another great-great-grandfather, Parley P. Pratt, helped lead the early church.[13][14]

Romney has three older siblings, Margo, Jane, and Scott. Mitt was the youngest by nearly six years.[15] His parents named him after a family friend, businessman J. Willard Marriott, and his father’s cousin, Milton “Mitt” Romney, a former quarterback for the Chicago Bears.[16] Romney was called “Billy” until kindergarten, when he expressed a preference for “Mitt.”[17] In 1953, the family moved from Detroit to the affluent suburb of Bloomfield Hills and his father became the chairman and CEO of American Motors the following year and helped the company avoid bankruptcy and return to profitability.[18] By 1959, his father had become a nationally known figure in print and on television,[19] and Mitt idolized him.[20]

Black and white headshot of a young Romney.

Romney in Cranbrook School‘s 1965 yearbook.

Brick buildings facing a courtyard

Romney began attending Cranbrook School in 1959.

Romney attended public elementary schools until seventh grade, when he enrolled as one of only a few Mormon students at Cranbrook School, a private upscale boys’ preparatory school a few miles from his home.[17][21] Many students there came from backgrounds even more privileged than his.[22] Not particularly athletic, he also did not distinguish himself academically.[20] He participated in his father’s successful 1962 Michigan gubernatorial campaign,[23] and later worked as an intern in the governor’s office.[20][24] Romney took up residence at Cranbrook when his newly elected father began spending most of his time at the state capitol.[21]

At Cranbrook, Romney helped manage the ice hockey team, and joined the pep squad.[21] During his senior year, he joined the cross country running team.[17] He belonged to 11 school organizations and school clubs, including the Blue Key Club, a booster group he had started.[21] During his final year there, his academic record improved but fell short of excellence.[20][22] Romney was involved in several pranks while attending Cranbrook. He has since apologized for them, stating that some of them may have gone too far.[nb 1] In March of his senior year, he began dating Ann Davies; she attended the private Kingswood School, Cranbrook’s sister school.[22][29] The two became informally engaged around the time he graduated from high school in June 1965.[20][25]

College, France mission, marriage, and children

Mitt Romney and Ann Romney with George Romney and Lenore Romney at the White House in 1969

Romney attended Stanford University during the 1965–66 academic year.[20] He was not part of the counterculture of the 1960s then taking form in the San Francisco Bay Area.[20] As opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War grew, a group staged a May 1966 sit-in at Stanford’s administration building to demonstrate against draft status tests; Romney joined a counterprotest against that group.[20][30] He continued to enjoy occasional pranks.[nb 2]

In July 1966, he began a 30-month stint in France as a Mormon missionary,[20][33] a traditional rite of passage in his family.[nb 3] He arrived in Le Havre, where he shared cramped quarters under meager conditions.[13][35] Rules against drinking, smoking, and dating were strictly enforced.[13] On average, individual Mormon missionaries do not gain many converts[nb 4] and Romney was no exception:[35] he later estimated 10 to 20 for his entire mission.[40][nb 5] He initially became demoralized and later recalled it as the only time when “most of what I was trying to do was rejected.”[35] He soon gained recognition within the mission for the many homes he called on and the repeat visits he was granted.[13] He became a zone leader in Bordeaux in early 1968, and soon thereafter became an assistant to the mission president in Paris.[13][35][42] Residing at the Mission Home for several months, he enjoyed a mansion far more comfortable than the accommodations he had had elsewhere in the country.[42] When the French expressed opposition to the U.S. role in the Vietnam War, Romney debated them. Those who yelled at him and slammed their doors in his face merely reinforced his resolve.[13][35]

1968 campaign poster showing a smiling George Romney
Mitt’s father George (pictured here in a 1968 poster) lost the Republican presidential nomination to Richard M. Nixon and later was appointed to the Nixon cabinet.
campaign button advocating Lenore Romney for U. S. Senate
Mitt’s mother Lenore, promoted here on a button, lost a Senate race in 1970. Mitt worked for her campaign.

In June 1968, he was in southern France and driving an automobile that was hit by another vehicle, which seriously injured him and killed one of his passengers, the wife of the mission president.[nb 6] Romney then became co-president of a mission that had become demoralized and disorganized after the May 1968 general strike and student uprisings and the car accident.[43] With Romney rallying the others, the mission met its goal of 200 baptisms for the year, the most in a decade.[43] By the end of his stint in December 1968, he was overseeing the work of 175 others.[35][44] As a result of his experience there, Romney developed a lifelong affection for France and its people and has remained fluent in French.[46]

At their first meeting following his return, Romney and Ann Davies reconnected and decided to get married.[47] Before their wedding, Romney moved to Utah and enrolled at Brigham Young University, where Ann had been studying.[48] They married on March 21, 1969, in a civil ceremony in Bloomfield Hills and the next day, they flew to Utah for a Mormon wedding ceremony at the Salt Lake Temple; Ann had converted to the faith while he was away.[49][50]

Romney had missed much of the tumultuous anti-Vietnam War movement in America while in France. Upon his return, he was surprised to learn that his father had joined that movement during his unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign.[35] George was now serving in President Richard Nixon’s cabinet as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In a June 1970 newspaper profile of children of cabinet members, Mitt said that U.S. involvement in the war had been misguided – “If it wasn’t a political blunder to move into Vietnam, I don’t know what is” – but supported Nixon’s ongoing Cambodian Incursion as a sincere attempt to end the war.[51] During the U.S. military draft for the Vietnam War, Romney sought and received two 2-S student deferments, then a 4-D ministerial deferment while living in France as a missionary. He later sought and received two additional student deferments.[30][52] When those ran out, he drew number 300 in the December 1969 draft lottery, ensuring he would not be drafted.[30][52][53]

At culturally conservative BYU, Romney remained separated from much of the upheaval of that era.[35][48] He became president of the Cougar Club booster organization and showed a newfound discipline in his studies.[35][48] During his senior year, he took a leave of absence to work as driver and advance man for his mother’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign;[25][49] together, they visited all 83 Michigan counties.[54][55] Romney graduated from BYU in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a 3.97 GPA.[48] He gave commencement addresses to both the College of Humanities and the whole of BYU.[nb 7]

The Romneys’ first son, Taggart, was born in 1970[37] while they were undergraduates at BYU and living in a basement apartment.[48] Their son Matthew was born in 1971 and Joshua in 1975. Benjamin (1978) and Craig (1981) were born after Romney had begun his career.[37]

Romney wanted to pursue a business career, but his father advised him that a law degree would be valuable to his career even if he never practiced law.[58][59] As a result, he enrolled in the recently created four-year joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration program coordinated between Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.[60] He readily adapted to the business school’s pragmatic, data-driven case study method of teaching.[59] Living in a Belmont, Massachusetts, house with Ann and their two children, his social experience differed from that of most of his classmates.[49][59] He was nonideological and did not involve himself in the political issues of the day.[49][59] He graduated in 1975 cum laude from the law school, in the top third of that class, and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in the top five percent of his business school class.[56][60]

Business career

Management consulting

After receiving his JD/MBA from Harvard, Romney passed the Michigan bar exam but decided to pursue a career in business rather than law.[61] He was recruited by several large companies but joined the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), reasoning that working as a management consultant for a variety of companies would better prepare him for a future position as a chief executive.[58][62] Part of a 1970s wave of top graduates who chose to go into consulting rather than join a large company directly,[63] he found his legal and business education useful in his job.[58] He applied BCG principles such as the growth-share matrix,[64] and executives viewed him as having a bright future there.[58][65] At BCG, he was a colleague of Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he formed a friendship that has lasted for more than 40 years.[66]

In 1977, he was hired by Bain & Company, a management consulting firm in Boston formed a few years earlier by Bill Bain and several other ex-BCG employees.[58][64][67] Bain later said of the 30-year-old Romney, “He had the appearance of confidence of a guy who was maybe ten years older.”[68] Unlike other consulting firms, which issued recommendations and then departed, Bain & Company immersed itself in a client’s businesses and worked with them until changes were implemented.[58][64] Romney became a vice president of the firm in 1978,[17] working with such clients as the Monsanto Company, Outboard Marine Corporation, Burlington Industries, and Corning Incorporated.[62] Within a few years, the firm considered him one of its best consultants. In fact, clients sometimes preferred to use him rather than more-senior partners.[58][69]

Minor political issues

Two family incidents during this time later surfaced during Romney’s political campaigns.[70][71] A state park ranger in 1981 told Romney his motorboat had an insufficiently visible license number and that he would face a $50 fine if he took the boat onto the lake. Disagreeing about the license and wanting to continue a family outing, Romney took it out anyway, saying he would pay the fine. The ranger arrested him for disorderly conduct. The charges were dropped several days later.[72] In 1983, on a 12-hour family road trip, he placed the family’s dog in a windshield-equipped carrier on the roof of their car, and then washed the car and carrier after the dog suffered a bout of diarrhea.[49] The dog incident in particular later became fodder for Romney’s critics and political opponents.[71][73]

Private equity

In 1984, Romney left Bain & Company to co-found and lead the spin-off private equity investment firm Bain Capital.[74] He initially refrained from accepting Bill Bain’s offer to head the new venture until Bain rearranged the terms in a complicated partnership structure so that there was no financial or professional risk to Romney.[58][68][75] Bain and Romney raised the $37 million needed to start the new operation, which had seven employees.[62][76] Romney held the titles of president[77] and managing general partner.[78][79] Though he was the sole shareholder of the firm, publications also called him managing director or CEO.[80][81][82]

Initially, Bain Capital focused on venture capital investments. Romney set up a system in which any partner could veto one of these potential opportunities, and he personally saw so many weaknesses that few venture capital investments were approved in the initial two years.[58] The firm’s first significant success was a 1986 investment to help start Staples Inc., after founder Thomas G. Stemberg convinced Romney of the market size for office supplies and Romney convinced others; Bain Capital eventually reaped a nearly sevenfold return on its investment, and Romney sat on Staples’s board of directors for over a decade.[58][76][83]

Romney soon switched Bain Capital’s focus from startups to the relatively new business of leveraged buyouts: buying existing companies with money mostly borrowed from banking institutions using the newly bought companies’ assets as collateral, taking steps to improve the companies’ value, and then selling those companies when their value peaked, usually within a few years.[58][68] Bain Capital lost money in many of its early leveraged buyouts, but then found deals that made large returns.[58] The firm invested in or acquired Accuride Corporation, Brookstone, Domino’s Pizza, Sealy Corporation, Sports Authority, and Artisan Entertainment, as well as some lesser-known companies in the industrial and medical sectors.[58][68][84] Much of the firm’s profit was earned from a relatively small number of deals; Bain Capital’s overall success-to-failure ratio was about even.[nb 8]

Romney discovered few investment opportunities himself (and those that he did often failed to make money for the firm).[86] Instead, he focused on analyzing the merits of possible deals that others brought forward and on recruiting investors to participate in them once approved.[86] At Bain Capital, Romney spread profits from deals widely within the firm to keep people motivated, often keeping less than 10% for himself.[87] Data-driven, he often played the role of a devil’s advocate during exhaustive analysis of whether to go forward with a deal.[58][83] He wanted to drop a Bain Capital hedge fund that initially lost money, but other partners disagreed with him and it eventually made billions.[58] He opted out of the Artisan Entertainment deal, not wanting to profit from a studio that produced R-rated films.[58] Romney served on the board of directors of Damon Corporation, a medical testing company later found guilty of defrauding the government; Bain Capital tripled its investment before selling off the company, and the fraud was discovered by the new owners (Romney was never implicated).[58] In some cases, Romney had little involvement with a company once Bain Capital acquired it.[76]

Bain Capital’s leveraged buyouts sometimes led to layoffs, either soon after acquisition or later after the firm had concluded its role.[64][75][76] Exactly how many jobs Bain Capital added compared to those lost because of these investments and buyouts is unknown, owing to a lack of records and Bain Capital’s penchant for privacy for itself and its investors.[88][89][90] Maximizing the value of acquired companies and the return to Bain’s investors, not job creation, was the firm’s primary investment goal.[76][91] Bain Capital’s acquisition of Ampad exemplified a deal where it profited handsomely from early payments and management fees, even though the subject company itself later went into bankruptcy.[58][83][91] Dade Behring was another case where Bain Capital received an eightfold return on its investment but the company itself was saddled with debt and laid off over a thousand employees before Bain Capital exited (the company subsequently went into bankruptcy, with more layoffs, before recovering and prospering).[88] Referring to the layoffs that sometimes occurred, Romney said in 2007: “Sometimes the medicine is a little bitter but it is necessary to save the life of the patient. My job was to try and make the enterprise successful, and in my view the best security a family can have is that the business they work for is strong.”[75]

In 1990, facing financial collapse, Bain & Company asked Romney to return.[74] Announced as its new CEO in January 1991,[78][79] he drew a symbolic salary of one dollar[74] (remaining managing general partner of Bain Capital during this time).[78][79] He oversaw an effort to restructure Bain & Company’s employee stock-ownership plan and real-estate deals, while rallying the firm’s 1,000 employees, imposing a new governing structure that excluded Bain and the other founding partners from control, and increasing fiscal transparency.[58][62][74] He got Bain and other initial owners who had removed excessive amounts of money from the firm to return substantial amounts, and persuaded creditors, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to accept less than full payment.[92] Within about a year, he led Bain & Company to a return to profitability.[62] He then turned it over to new leadership and returned to Bain Capital in December 1992.[58][93][94]

Romney took a leave of absence from Bain Capital from November 1993 to November 1994 to run for U.S. Senate.[49][95] During that time, Ampad workers went on strike and asked Romney to intervene. Against the advice of Bain Capital lawyers, Romney met the strikers, but told them he had no position of active authority in the matter.[96][97]

By 1999, Bain Capital was on its way to becoming one of the foremost private equity firms in the nation,[75] having increased its number of partners from 5 to 18, with 115 employees and $4 billion under management.[68][76] The firm’s average annual internal rate of return on realized investments was 113%[62][98] and its average yearly return to investors was around 50%–80%.[85]

Starting in February 1999, Romney took a paid leave of absence from Bain Capital in order to serve as the president and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee.[99][100] Billed in some public statements as keeping a part-time role,[99][101] Romney remained the firm’s sole shareholder, managing director, CEO, and president, signing corporate and legal documents, attending to his interests within the firm, and conducting prolonged negotiations for the terms of his departure.[99][102] He did not involve himself in the firm’s day-to-day operations or the investment decisions of its new private equity funds.[99][102] He retained his position on several boards of directors during this time and regularly returned to Massachusetts to attend meetings.[103]

In August 2001, Romney announced that he would not return to Bain Capital.[104] His separation from the firm concluded in early 2002;[99] he transferred his ownership to other partners and negotiated an agreement that allowed him to receive a share of the profits as a retired partner in some Bain Capital entities, including buyout and investment funds.[105][87] The private equity business continued to thrive, earning him millions of dollars in annual income.[87]

LDS Church service

During his business career, Romney held several positions in the local lay clergy. In the early 1970s, he served in a ward bishopric. He then served for a time as a seminary teacher and then as a member of the stake high council of the Boston Stake while Richard L. Bushman was stake president.[106]

In 1977, he became a counselor to the president of the Boston Stake.[106] He served as bishop of the ward at Belmont, Massachusetts, from 1981 to 1986.[107][108] As such, in addition to home teaching, he also formulated Sunday services and classes using LDS scriptures to guide the congregation.[109] After the destruction of the Belmont meetinghouse by a fire of suspicious origins in 1984, he forged links with other religious institutions, allowing the congregation to rotate its meetings to other houses of worship during the reconstruction of the Belmont building.[108][110]

From 1986 to 1994, Romney was president of the Boston Stake, which included more than a dozen wards in eastern Massachusetts and almost 4,000 church members.[69][109][111] He organized a team to handle financial and management issues, sought to counter anti-Mormon sentiment, and tried to solve social problems among poor Southeast Asian converts.[108][110] An unpaid position, his local church leadership often took 30 or more hours a week of his time,[109] and he became known for his considerable energy in the role.[69] He also earned a reputation for avoiding any overnight travel that might interfere with his church responsibilities.[109]

Romney took a hands-on role in the Boston Stake’s matters, helping in domestic maintenance efforts, visiting the sick, and counseling burdened church members.[107][108][109] A number of local church members later credited him with turning their lives around or helping them through difficult times.[108][109][110] Others, rankled by his leadership style, desired a more consensus-based approach.[108] Romney tried to balance the conservative directives from church leadership in Utah with the desire of some Massachusetts members to have a more flexible application of religious doctrine.[69] He agreed with some requests from a liberal women’s group that published Exponent II calling for changes in the way the church dealt with women, but he clashed with women he felt were departing too much from doctrine.[69] In particular, he counseled women not to have abortions except in the rare cases allowed by LDS doctrine[nb 9] and encouraged unmarried women facing unplanned pregnancies to give their babies up for adoption.[69] Romney later said that the years spent as an LDS minister gave him direct exposure to people struggling financially and empathy for those with family problems.[112]

1994 United States Senate campaign

Man smiling at right with sign in background and parents holding toddler at left

Campaigning for U.S. Senate in Holyoke, Massachusetts, 1994

For much of his business career, Romney did not take public political stances.[113][114] He had kept abreast of national politics since college,[35] and the circumstances of his father’s presidential campaign loss had irked him for decades.[25] He registered as an Independent[49] and voted in the 1992 presidential primaries for the Democratic former senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas.[113][115]

By 1993, Romney had begun thinking about entering politics, partly on Ann’s urging and partly to follow in his father’s footsteps.[49] He decided to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, who was seeking reelection to a sixth term. Political pundits viewed Kennedy as vulnerable that year, in part because of the unpopularity of the Democratic Congress as a whole, and in part because this was Kennedy’s first election since the William Kennedy Smith trial in Florida, in which Kennedy’s reputation had suffered.[116][117][118] Romney changed his affiliation to Republican in October 1993 and formally announced his candidacy in February 1994.[49] In addition to his leave from Bain Capital, Romney also stepped down from his church leadership role in 1994.[109]

Radio personality Janet Jeghelian took an early lead in polls among candidates for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat, but Romney proved the most effective fundraiser.[119][120] He won 68% of the vote at the May 1994 Massachusetts Republican Party convention; businessman John Lakian finished a distant second, eliminating Jeghelian.[121] Romney defeated Lakian in the September 1994 primary with more than 80% of the vote.[17][122]

In the general election, Kennedy faced the first serious reelection challenge of his career.[116] The younger, telegenic, and well-funded Romney ran as a businessman who said he had created 10,000 jobs and as a Washington outsider with a solid family image and moderate stances on social issues.[116][123] When Kennedy tried to tie Romney’s policies to those of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Romney responded, “Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to take us back to Reagan-Bush.”[124] Romney said, “Ultimately, this is a campaign about change.”[125]

Romney’s campaign was effective in portraying Kennedy as soft on crime but had trouble establishing its own consistent positions.[126] By mid-September 1994, polls showed the race about even.[116][127][128] Kennedy responded with a series of ads that focused on Romney’s seemingly shifting political views on issues such as abortion;[129] Romney responded, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”[130] Other Kennedy ads centered on layoffs of workers at the Ampad plant owned by Bain Capital.[116][131] The latter was effective in blunting Romney’s momentum.[83] Kennedy and Romney held a widely watched late October debate that had no clear winner, but by then, Kennedy had pulled ahead in polls and remained so.[132] Romney spent $3 million of his own money on the race and more than $7 million overall.[133][nb 10] Despite a disastrous showing for Democrats nationwide, Kennedy won the election with 58% of the vote to Romney’s 41%,[58] the smallest margin in any of Kennedy’s reelection campaigns for the Senate.[135]

The day after the election, Romney returned to Bain Capital, but the loss had a lasting effect; he told his brother, “I never want to run for something again unless I can win.”[49][136]

After election

When his father died in 1995, Mitt donated his inheritance to BYU’s George W. Romney Institute of Public Management.[57] He also became vice-chair of the Board of the Points of Light Foundation,[104] which had embraced his father’s National Volunteer Center. Romney felt restless as the decade neared a close; making more money held little attraction for him.[49][136] Although no longer in a local leadership position in his church, he still taught Sunday School.[107] During the long and controversial approval and construction process for the $30-million Mormon temple in Belmont, he feared that, as a political figure who had opposed Kennedy, he would become a focal point for opposition to the structure.[108] He thus kept to a limited, behind-the-scenes role in attempts to ease tensions between the church and local residents.[107][108][110]

2002 Winter Olympics

In 1998, Ann Romney learned that she had multiple sclerosis; Mitt described watching her fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life.[49] After experiencing two years of severe difficulties with the disease, she found – while living in Park City, Utah, where the couple had built a vacation home – a combination of mainstream, alternative, and equestrian therapies that enabled her to lead a lifestyle mostly without limitations.[137] When her husband received a job offer to take over the troubled organization responsible for the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, to be held in Salt Lake City in Utah, she urged him to accept it; eager for a new challenge, as well as another chance to prove himself in public life, he did.[136][138][139] On February 11, 1999, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 hired Romney as its president and CEO.[140]

Photograph of Romney standing with microphone in middle of curling lanes

Romney, as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics, speaking before a curling match

Before Romney took over, the event was $379 million short of its revenue goals.[140] Officials had made plans to scale back the Games to compensate for the fiscal crisis, and there were fears it might be moved away entirely.[141] In addition, the Games’ image had been damaged by allegations of bribery against top officials including prior committee president and CEO Frank Joklik. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee forced Joklik and committee vice president Dave Johnson to resign.[142] Utah power brokers, including Governor Mike Leavitt, searched for someone with a scandal-free reputation to take charge of the Olympics. They chose Romney based on his business and legal expertise as well as his connections to both the LDS Church and the state.[139][143] The appointment faced some initial criticism from both non-Mormons and Mormons that it represented cronyism and made the Games seem too Mormon-dominated.[41] Romney donated to charity the $1.4 million in salary and severance payments he received for his three years as president and CEO, and also donated $1 million to the Olympics.[144]

Romney restructured the organization’s leadership and policies. He reduced budgets and boosted fundraising, alleviating corporate sponsors’ concerns while recruiting new ones.[136][139] Romney worked to ensure the Games’s safety after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by coordinating a $300 million security budget.[138] He oversaw a $1.32 billion budget, 700 employees, and 26,000 volunteers.[140] The federal government provided approximately $400 million[139][145][146] to $600 million[147][148] of that budget, much of it a result of Romney’s having aggressively lobbied Congress and federal agencies.[148][149] It was a record level of federal funding for the staging of a U.S. Olympics.[146][149] An additional $1.1 billion of indirect federal funding came to the state in the form of highway and transit projects.[150]

Romney emerged as the local public face of the Olympic effort, appearing in photographs, in news stories, on collectible Olympics pins depicting him wrapped by an American flag, and on buttons carrying phrases like “Hey, Mitt, we love you!”[136][139][151] Organizing committee chair Robert H. Garff later said, “It was obvious that he had an agenda larger than just the Olympics”,”[136] and that Romney wanted to use the Olympics to propel himself into the national spotlight and a political career.[139][152] Garff believed the initial budget situation was not as bad as Romney portrayed, given there were still three years to reorganize.[139] Utah Senator Bob Bennett said that much of the needed federal money was already in place.[139] A Boston Globe analysis later found that the committee had nearly $1 billion in committed revenues at that time.[139] Olympics critic Steve Pace, who led Utahns for Responsible Public Spending, thought Romney exaggerated the initial fiscal state to lay the groundwork for a well-publicized rescue.[152] Kenneth Bullock, another board member of the organizing committee and also head of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, often clashed with Romney at the time, and later said that Romney deserved some credit for the turnaround but not as much as he claimed.[136] Bullock said: “He tried very hard to build an image of himself as a savior, the great white hope. He was very good at characterizing and castigating people and putting himself on a pedestal.”[139]

Despite the initial fiscal shortfall, the Games ended up with a surplus of $100 million.[153] President George W. Bush praised Romney’s efforts and 87% of Utahns approved of his performance as Olympics head.[26][154] It solidified his reputation as a “turnaround artist,,”[139][155][156] and Harvard Business School taught a case study based around his actions.[64] U.S. Olympic Committee head William Hybl credited Romney with an extraordinary effort in overcoming a difficult time for the Olympics, culminating in “the greatest Winter Games I have ever seen.”[139] Romney wrote a book about his experience, Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games, published in 2004. The role gave him experience in dealing with federal, state, and local entities, a public persona he had previously lacked, and the chance to relaunch his political aspirations.[136]

Governor of Massachusetts (2003–2007)



Romney’s gubernatorial campaign logo from 2002

In 2002, plagued by political missteps and personal scandals, the administration of Republican Acting Governor of Massachusetts Jane Swift appeared vulnerable, and many Republicans viewed her as unable to win a general election.[154][157] Prominent party figures – as well as the White House – wanted Romney to run for governor[158][159] and the opportunity appealed to him for reasons including its national visibility.[160] A Boston Herald poll showed Republicans favoring Romney over Swift by more than 50 percentage points.[161] On March 19, 2002, Swift announced she would not seek her party’s nomination, and hours later Romney declared his candidacy,[161] for which he would face no opposition in the primary.[162] In June 2002, the Massachusetts Democratic Party challenged Romney’s eligibility to run for governor, noting that state law required seven years’ consecutive residence and that Romney had filed his state tax returns as a Utah resident in 1999 and 2000.[163][164] In response, the bipartisan Massachusetts State Ballot Law Commission unanimously ruled that he had maintained sufficient financial and personal ties to Massachusetts to be an eligible candidate.[165]

Romney again ran as a political outsider.[154] He played down his party affiliation,[166] saying he was “not a partisan Republican” but rather a “moderate” with “progressive” views.[167] He said he would observe a moratorium on changes to the state’s laws on abortion, but reiterated that he would “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose” and that his position was “unequivocal”.[130][168] He touted his private sector experience as qualifying him for addressing the state’s fiscal problems[162] and stressed his ability to obtain federal funds for the state, offering his Olympics record as evidence.[146][149] He proposed to reorganize the state government while eliminating waste, fraud, and mismanagement.[166][169] The campaign innovatively utilized microtargeting techniques, identifying like-minded groups of voters and reaching them with narrowly tailored messaging.[170]

In an attempt to overcome the image that had damaged him in the 1994 Senate race – that of a wealthy corporate buyout specialist out of touch with the needs of regular people – the campaign staged a series of “work days”, in which Romney performed blue-collar jobs such as herding cows and baling hay, unloading a fishing boat, and hauling garbage.[169][171][172] Television ads highlighting the effort, as well as one portraying his family in gushing terms and showing him shirtless,[171] received a poor public response and were a factor in his Democratic opponent, Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, leading in the polls as late as mid-October.[169][172] He responded with ads that accused O’Brien of being a failed watchdog for state pension fund losses in the stock market and that associated her husband, a former lobbyist, with the Enron scandal.[166][172] These were effective in capturing independent voters.[172] O’Brien said that Romney’s budget plans were unrealistic; the two also differed on capital punishment and bilingual education, with Romney supporting the former and opposing the latter.[173]

During the election, Romney contributed more than $6 million – a state record at the time – to the nearly $10 million raised for his campaign.[174][175] On November 5, 2002, he won the election with 50% of the vote to O’Brien’s 45%.[176]


Romney announcing a Save America’s Treasures Historic Preservation grant for the Old North Church in Boston, 2003

Romney was sworn in as the 70th governor of Massachusetts on January 2, 2003.[177] He faced a Massachusetts state legislature with large Democratic majorities in both houses, and had picked his cabinet and advisors based more on managerial abilities than partisan affiliation.[178][179] He declined a governor’s salary of $135,000 during his term.[180] Upon entering office in the middle of a fiscal year, he faced an immediate $650 million shortfall and a projected $3 billion deficit for the next year.[166] Unexpected revenue of $1.0–1.3 billion from a previously enacted capital gains tax increase and $500 million in new federal grants decreased the deficit to $1.2–1.5 billion.[181][182] Through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and removal of corporate tax loopholes,[181] the state achieved surpluses of around $600–700 million during Romney’s last two full fiscal years in office, although it began running deficits again after that.[nb 11]

Romney supported raising various fees, including those for drivers’ licenses and gun licenses, to raise more than $300 million.[166][181] He increased a special gasoline retailer fee by $0.02 per US gallon ($0.0053/l), generating about $60 million per year in additional revenue.[166][181] Opponents said the reliance on fees sometimes imposed a hardship on those who could least afford them.[181] Romney also closed tax loopholes that brought in another $181 million from businesses over the next two years and over $300 million for his term.[166][187][188] He did so in the face of conservative and corporate critics who viewed these actions as tax increases.[187][188]

The state legislature, with the governor’s support, cut spending by $1.6 billion, including $700 million in reductions in state aid to cities and towns.[189] The cuts also included a $140 million reduction in state funding for higher education, which led state-run colleges and universities to increase fees by 63% over four years.[166][181] Romney sought additional cuts in his last year as governor by vetoing nearly 250 items in the state budget; the legislature overrode all the vetoes.[190]

The cuts in state spending put added pressure on localities to reduce services or raise property taxes, and the share of town and city revenues coming from property taxes rose from 49% to 53%.[166][181] The combined state and local tax burden in Massachusetts increased during Romney’s governorship.[166] He did propose a reduction in the state income tax rate, but the legislature rejected it.[191]

Romney sought to bring near-universal health insurance coverage to the state. This came after Staples founder Tom Stemberg told him at the start of his term that doing so would be the best way he could help people.[192] Another factor was that the federal government, owing to the rules of Medicaid funding, threatened to cut $385 million in those payments to Massachusetts if the state did not reduce the number of uninsured recipients of health care services.[168][193] Although the idea of universal health insurance had not come to the fore during the campaign, Romney decided that because people without insurance still received expensive health care, the money spent by the state for such care could be better used to subsidize insurance for the poor.[192]

Governor Romney received a tour of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy on May 20, 2005 as part of celebrating Armed Forces Day

Determined that a new Massachusetts health insurance measure not raise taxes or resemble the previous decade’s failed “Hillarycare” proposal at the federal level, Romney formed a team of consultants from diverse political backgrounds to apply those principles. Beginning in late 2004, they devised a set of proposals that were more ambitious than an incremental one from the Massachusetts Senate and more acceptable to him than one from the Massachusetts House of Representatives that incorporated a new payroll tax.[168][179][193] In particular, Romney pushed for incorporating an individual mandate at the state level.[23] Past rival Ted Kennedy, who had made universal health coverage his life’s work and who, over time, had developed a warm relationship with Romney,[194] gave the plan a positive reception, which encouraged Democratic legislators to cooperate.[168][193] The effort eventually gained the support of all major stakeholders within the state, and Romney helped break a logjam between rival Democratic leaders in the legislature.[168][193]

On April 12, 2006, Romney signed the resulting Massachusetts health reform law, commonly called “Romneycare”, which requires nearly all Massachusetts residents to buy health insurance coverage or face escalating tax penalties, such as the loss of their personal income tax exemption.[195] The bill also established means-tested state subsidies for people who lacked adequate employer insurance and whose income was below a threshold, using funds that had covered the health costs of the uninsured.[196][197] He vetoed eight sections of the health care legislation, including a controversial $295-per-employee assessment on businesses that do not offer health insurance and provisions guaranteeing dental benefits to Medicaid recipients.[195][198] The legislature overrode all eight vetoes, but the governor’s office said the differences were not essential.[198] The law was the first of its kind in the nation and became the signature achievement of Romney’s term in office.[168][nb 12]

At the beginning of his governorship, Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions but advocated tolerance and supported some domestic partnership benefits.[168][200][201] A November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, required the state to recognize same-sex marriages.[202] Romney reluctantly backed a state constitutional amendment in February 2004 that would have banned those marriages but still allowed civil unions, viewing it as the only feasible way to comply with the court’s ruling.[202] In May 2004 and per the court decision, he instructed town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But citing a 1913 law that barred out-of-state residents from getting married in Massachusetts if their union would be illegal in their home state, he said no marriage licenses were to be issued to people not planning to move to Massachusetts.[200][203] In June 2005, Romney abandoned his support for the compromise amendment, stating that it confused voters who opposed both same-sex marriage and civil unions.[200] Instead, he endorsed a ballot initiative led by the Coalition for Marriage and Family (an alliance of socially conservative organizations) that would have banned same-sex marriage and made no provisions for civil unions.[200] In 2004 and 2006, he urged the U.S. Senate to vote for the Federal Marriage Amendment.[204][205]

In 2005, Romney revealed a change of view regarding abortion, moving from the abortion rights positions expressed during his 1994 and 2002 campaigns to an anti-abortion one in opposition to Roe v. Wade.[168] He attributed his conversion to an interaction with Harvard University biologist Douglas Melton, an expert on embryonic stem cell biology, although Melton vehemently disputed Romney’s recollection of their conversation.[206] Romney subsequently vetoed a bill on pro-life grounds that expanded access to emergency contraception in hospitals and pharmacies; the legislature overrode the veto.[207] He also amended his position on embryonic stem cell research.[nb 13]

Mitt and Ann Romney at the White House Correspondents Dinner, 2005

Romney used a bully pulpit approach towards promoting his agenda, staging well-organized media events to appeal directly to the public rather than pushing his proposals in behind-doors sessions with the state legislature.[168] He dealt with a public crisis of confidence in Boston’s Big Dig project after a fatal ceiling collapse in 2006 by wresting control of the project from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.[168] After two years of negotiating the state’s participation in the landmark Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that instituted a cap-and-trade arrangement for power plant emissions in the Northeast, Romney pulled Massachusetts out of the initiative shortly before its signing in December 2005, citing a lack of cost limits for industry.[208]

In 2004, Romney spent considerable effort trying to bolster the state Republican Party, but it failed to gain any seats in the legislative elections that year.[166][209] Given a prime-time appearance at the 2004 Republican National Convention, he began to be discussed as a potential 2008 presidential candidate.[210] Midway through his term, Romney decided that he wanted to stage a full-time run for president,[211] and on December 14, 2005, he announced that he would not seek reelection as governor.[212] As chair of the Republican Governors Association, Romney traveled around the country, meeting prominent Republicans and building a national political network;[211] he spent more than 200 days out of state in 2006, preparing for his run.[213]

Romney had a 61% job approval rating after his initial fiscal actions in 2003, but it subsequently declined,[214] driven in part by his frequent out-of-state travel.[214][215] It stood at 34% in November 2006, ranking 48th of the 50 U.S. governors.[216] In the 2006 Massachusetts gubernatorial election, Democratic nominee Deval Patrick beat Romney’s lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, by 20 points, with the win partially due to dissatisfaction with Romney’s administration and the weak condition of the state Republican party.[215][217]

Romney filed to register a presidential campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission on his penultimate day in office as governor. His term ended on January 4, 2007.[218]

2008 presidential campaign

Romney formally announced his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination for president on February 13, 2007, in Dearborn, Michigan.[219] Again casting himself as a political outsider,[220] his speech frequently invoked his father and his family, and stressed experiences in the private, public, and voluntary sectors that had brought him to this point.[219][221]

Mitt Romney addressing an audience from atop a stage

Holding an “Ask Mitt Anything” session in Ames, Iowa, in May 2007

The campaign emphasized Romney’s highly profitable career in the business world and his stewardship of the 2002 Olympics.[211][222][nb 14] He also had political experience as a governor, together with a political pedigree courtesy of his father (as well as many biographical parallels with him).[nb 15] Ann Romney, who had become an advocate for those with multiple sclerosis,[228] was in remission and was an active participant in his campaign,[229] helping to soften his political personality.[230] Media stories called the 6-foot-2-inch (1.88 m) Romney handsome;[231][232][233][234] a number of commentators noted that with his square jaw and ample hair graying at the temples, he matched a common image of what a president should look like.[74][235][236][237]

Romney’s liabilities included having run for senator and serving as governor in one of the nation’s most liberal states and having taken positions in opposition to the party’s conservative base during that time.[211][222][229] Late during his term as governor, he had shifted positions and emphases to better align with traditional conservatives on social issues.[211][222][229] Skeptics, including some Republicans, charged Romney with opportunism and a lack of core principles.[115][168][238] As a Mormon, he faced suspicion and skepticism by some in the Evangelical wing of the party.[238]

For his campaign, Romney assembled a veteran group of Republican staffers, consultants, and pollsters.[222][239] But he was little-known nationally, and hovered around 10% support in Republican preference polls for the first half of 2007.[211] He proved the most effective fundraiser of any of the Republican candidates and also partly financed his campaign with his own personal fortune.[222][240] These resources, combined with the mid-year near-collapse of nominal front-runner John McCain‘s campaign, made Romney a threat to win the nomination and the focus of the other candidates’ attacks.[241] Romney’s staff suffered from internal strife; Romney himself was at times indecisive, often asking for more data before making a decision.[222][242]

During all his political campaigns, Romney has avoided speaking publicly about Mormon doctrines, referring to the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of religious tests for public office.[243] But persistent questions about the role of religion in his life, as well as Southern Baptist minister and former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee‘s rise in the polls based on an explicitly Christian-themed campaign, led to Romney’s December 6, 2007, “Faith in America” speech.[244] In it, Romney declared, “I believe in my Mormon faith and endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs.”[14] He added that he should be neither elected nor rejected because of his religion,[245] and echoed Senator John F. Kennedy‘s famous speech during his 1960 presidential campaign in saying, “I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.”[244] Instead of discussing the specific tenets of his faith, he said he would be informed by it, saying: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”[244][245] Academics later studied the role religion played in the campaign.[nb 16]

The campaign’s strategy called for winning the initial two contests – the January 3, 2008, Iowa Republican caucuses and the January 8 New Hampshire primary – to propel Romney nationally.[248] But he took second place in both, losing Iowa to Huckabee, who received more than twice the evangelical Christian votes,[249][250] and New Hampshire to the resurgent McCain.[249] Huckabee and McCain criticized Romney’s image as a flip-flopper[249] and this label stuck to Romney through the campaign[222] (one that Romney rejected as unfair and inaccurate, except for his acknowledged change of mind on abortion).[230][251] Romney seemed to approach the campaign as a management consulting exercise, and showed a lack of personal warmth and political feel; journalist Evan Thomas wrote that Romney “came off as a phony, even when he was perfectly sincere.”[230][252] The fervor with which Romney adopted his new stances and attitudes contributed to the perception of inauthenticity that hampered the campaign.[64][253] His staff concluded that competing as a candidate of social conservatism and ideological purity rather than of pragmatic competence had been a mistake.[230]

McCain’s win in South Carolina and Romney’s in his childhood home Michigan set up a pivotal battle in the January 29 Florida primary.[254][255] Romney campaigned intensively on economic issues and the burgeoning subprime mortgage crisis, while McCain attacked Romney on Iraq policy and benefited from endorsements from Florida officeholders.[254][255] McCain won by five points.[254][255] Although many Republican officials were now lining up behind McCain,[255] Romney persisted through the nationwide Super Tuesday contests on February 5. There he won primaries or caucuses in several states, but McCain won in more and in larger-population ones.[256] Trailing McCain in delegates by a more than two-to-one margin, Romney announced the end of his campaign on February 7.[256]

Altogether, Romney had won 11 primaries and caucuses,[257] receiving about 4.7 million votes[258] and garnering about 280 delegates.[259] He spent $110 million during the campaign, including $45 million of his own money.[260]

Romney endorsed McCain for president a week later,[259] and McCain had Romney on a short list for running mate, where his business experience would have balanced one of McCain’s weaknesses.[261] Behind in the polls, McCain opted instead for a high-risk, high-reward “game changer”, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.[262] McCain lost the election to Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

Activity between presidential campaigns

Romney supported the Bush administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program in response to the late-2000s financial crisis, later saying that it prevented the U.S. financial system from collapsing.[263][264] During the U.S. automotive industry crisis of 2008–10, he opposed a bailout of the industry in the form of direct government intervention, and argued that a managed bankruptcy of struggling automobile companies should instead be accompanied by federal guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing from the private sector.[265]

After the 2008 election, Romney laid the groundwork for a 2012 presidential campaign by using his Free and Strong America political action committee (PAC) to raise money for other Republican candidates and pay his existing political staff’s salaries and consulting fees.[266][267] A network of former staff and supporters around the nation were eager for him to run again.[268] He continued to give speeches and raise funds for Republicans,[269] but fearing overexposure, turned down many potential media appearances.[251] He also spoke before business, educational, and motivational groups.[270] From 2009 to 2011, he served on the board of directors of Marriott International, founded by his namesake J. Willard Marriott.[271] He had previously served on it from 1993 to 2002.[271][nb 17]

Casual photograph of Mitt Romney indoors seated and signing books

Romney signing copies of his new book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness for service members at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in March 2010

In 2009, the Romneys sold their primary residence in Belmont and their ski chalet in Utah, leaving them an estate along Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and an oceanfront home in the La Jolla district of San Diego, California, which they had bought the year before.[251][274][275] The La Jolla home proved beneficial in location and climate for Ann Romney’s multiple sclerosis therapies and for recovering from her late 2008 diagnosis of mammary ductal carcinoma in situ and subsequent lumpectomy.[274][276][277] Both it and the New Hampshire estate were near some of their grandchildren.[274] Romney maintained his voting registration in Massachusetts, however, and bought a smaller condominium in Belmont during 2010.[276][278] In February 2010, Romney had a minor altercation with LMFAO member Skyler Gordy, known as Sky Blu, on an airplane flight.[nb 18]

Romney released his book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, in March 2010, and undertook an 18-state book tour to promote it.[282] In the book, he writes of his belief in American exceptionalism,[283] and presents his economic and geopolitical views rather than anecdotes about his personal or political life.[283][284] It debuted atop The New York Times Best Seller list.[285] Romney donated his earnings from the book to charity.[286]

Immediately after the March 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Romney attacked the landmark legislation as “an unconscionable abuse of power” and said it should be repealed.[287] The antipathy Republicans felt for it created a potential problem for Romney, since the new federal law was in many ways similar to the Massachusetts health care reform passed during his gubernatorial tenure; as one Associated Press article stated, “Obamacare … looks a lot like Romneycare.”[287] While acknowledging that his plan was an imperfect work in progress, Romney did not back away from it. He defended the state-level health insurance mandate that underpinned it, calling the bill the right answer to Massachusetts’s problems at the time.[287][288][289]

In nationwide opinion polling for the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, Romney led or placed in the top three with Palin and Huckabee. A January 2010 National Journal survey of political insiders found that a majority of Republican insiders and a plurality of Democratic insiders predicted Romney would be the party’s 2012 nominee.[290] Romney campaigned heavily for Republican candidates in the 2010 midterm elections,[291] raising more money than the other prospective 2012 Republican presidential candidates.[292] Beginning in early 2011, he presented a more relaxed image, including more casual attire.[253][293]

2012 presidential campaign

Primary election

Mitt Romney sitting outdoors during daytime, with crowd behind him holding up blue and white "Romney" signs

Giving an interview at a supporters rally in Paradise Valley, Arizona

On April 11, 2011, Romney announced, in a video taped outdoors at the University of New Hampshire, that he had formed an exploratory committee for a run for the Republican presidential nomination.[294][295] Quinnipiac University political science professor Scott McLean said, “We all knew that he was going to run. He’s really been running for president ever since the day after the 2008 election.”[295]

Romney stood to benefit from the Republican electorate’s tendency to nominate candidates who had previously run for president, and thus appeared to be next in line to be chosen.[268][296][297] The early stages of the race found him as the apparent front-runner in a weak field, especially in terms of fundraising prowess and organization.[298][299][300] Perhaps his greatest hurdle in gaining the Republican nomination was party opposition to the Massachusetts health care reform law that he had shepherded five years earlier.[293][295][297] As many potential Republican candidates with star power and fundraising ability decided not to run (including Mike Pence, John Thune, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, and Mitch Daniels), Republican party figures searched for plausible alternatives to Romney.[298][300]

On June 2, 2011, Romney formally announced the start of his campaign. Speaking on a farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, he focused on the economy and criticized Obama’s handling of it.[301] He said, “In the campaign to come, the American ideals of economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense, and I intend to make it – because I have lived it.”[297]

Romney raised $56 million in 2011, more than double the amount raised by any of his Republican opponents,[302] and refrained from spending his own money on the campaign.[303] He initially pursued a low-key, low-profile strategy.[304] Michele Bachmann staged a brief surge in polls, which preceded a poll surge in September 2011 by Rick Perry, who had entered the race the month before.[305] Perry and Romney exchanged sharp criticisms of each other during a series of debates among the Republican candidates.[306] The October 2011 decisions of Palin and Chris Christie not to run effectively settled the field of candidates.[307][308] Perry faded after poor performances in those debates, while Herman Cain‘s “long-shot” bid gained popularity until allegations of sexual misconduct derailed it.[309][310]

Romney campaign event in Toledo, Ohio

Romney continued to seek support from a wary Republican electorate; at this point in the race, his poll numbers were relatively flat and at a historically low level for a Republican front-runner.[307][311][312] After the charges of flip-flopping that marked his 2008 campaign began to accumulate again, Romney said in November 2011: “I’ve been as consistent as human beings can be.”[313][314][315] In the month before voting began, Newt Gingrich experienced a significant surge – taking a solid lead in national polls and most of the early caucus and primary states[316] – before settling back into parity or worse with Romney following a barrage of negative ads from Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney Super PAC.[317]

In the initial contest, the Iowa caucuses of January 3, election officials announced Romney as ahead with 25% of the vote, edging out a late-gaining Rick Santorum by eight votes (Ron Paul finished third).[318] Sixteen days later, however, they certified Santorum as the winner by 34 votes.[319] A week after the Iowa caucuses, Romney earned a decisive win in the New Hampshire primary with 39% of the vote; Paul finished second and Jon Huntsman Jr. third.[320]

In the run-up to the South Carolina Republican primary, Gingrich launched ads criticizing Romney for causing job losses while at Bain Capital, Perry referred to Romney’s role there as “vulture capitalism“, and Palin pressed Romney to prove his claim that he created 100,000 jobs during that time.[321][322] Many conservatives rallied in defense of Romney, rejecting what they took to be criticism of free-market capitalism.[321] During two debates in the state, Romney fumbled questions about releasing his income tax returns, while Gingrich gained support with audience-rousing attacks on the debate moderators.[323][324] Romney’s double-digit lead in state polls evaporated; he lost the January 21 primary to Gingrich by 13 points.[323] Combined with the delayed loss in Iowa, Romney’s poor week represented a lost chance to end the race early, and he quickly decided to release two years of his tax returns.[323][325] The race turned to the Florida primary, where in debates, appearances, and advertisements, Romney launched a sustained barrage against Gingrich’s record, associations and electability.[326][327] Romney enjoyed a large spending advantage from both his campaign and his aligned Super PAC, and after a record-breaking rate of negative ads from both sides, Romney won Florida on January 31, with 46% of the vote to Gingrich’s 32%.[328]

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan seen in medium distance on an outdoor stage, with large crowd around them

With running mate Paul Ryan in Norfolk, Virginia, during the vice presidential selection announcement on August 11, 2012

Several caucuses and primaries took place during February, and Santorum won three in a single night early in the month, propelling him into the lead in national and some state polls and positioning him as Romney’s chief rival.[329] Days later, Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference that he had been a “severely conservative governor”[330] (while in 2005 he had maintained that his positions were moderate and characterized reports that he was shifting to the right to attract conservative votes as a media distortion).[331] Romney won the other five February contests, including a closely fought one in Michigan at the end of the month.[332][333] In the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses of March 6, Romney won six of ten contests, including a narrow victory in Ohio over a vastly outspent Santorum. Although his victories were not enough to end the race, they were enough to establish a two-to-one delegate lead over Santorum.[334] Romney maintained his delegate margin through subsequent contests,[335] and Santorum suspended his campaign on April 10.[336] Following a sweep of five more contests on April 24, the Republican National Committee put its resources to work for Romney as the party’s presumptive nominee.[337] Romney clinched a majority of the delegates with a win in the Texas primary on May 29.

General election

Polls consistently indicated a tight race for the November general election.[338] Negative ads from both sides dominated the campaign, with Obama’s proclaiming that Romney shipped jobs overseas while at Bain Capital and kept money in offshore tax havens and Swiss bank accounts.[339] A related issue dealt with Romney’s purported responsibility for actions at Bain Capital after taking the Olympics post.[100][102] Romney faced demands from Democrats to release additional years of his tax returns, an action a number of Republicans also felt would be wise; after being adamant that he would not do that, he released summaries of them in late September.[340][341] During May and June, the Obama campaign spent heavily and was able to paint a negative image of Romney in voters’ minds before the Romney campaign could construct a positive one.[342]

In July 2012, Romney visited the United Kingdom, Israel, and Poland, meeting leaders in an effort to raise his credibility as a world statesman.[343] Comments he made about the readiness of the 2012 Summer Olympics were perceived as undiplomatic by the British press.[344][345] Israeli Prime Minister (and former BCG colleague) Benjamin Netanyahu embraced Romney, though some Palestinians criticized him for suggesting that Israel’s culture led to their greater economic success.[346]

On August 11, 2012, the Romney campaign announced Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.[347] On August 28, 2012, the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, officially nominated Romney for president.[348] Romney became the first LDS Church member to be a major-party presidential nominee.[349]

In mid-September, a video surfaced of Romney speaking before a group of supporters in which he said that 47% of the nation pays no income tax, are dependent on the federal government, see themselves as victims, and will support Obama unconditionally. He went on to say, “And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”[350][351][352] After facing criticism about the tone and accuracy of these comments, he at first characterized them as “inelegantly stated”, then a couple of weeks later commented: “I said something that’s just completely wrong.”[353] Exit polls published following the election showed that voters never saw Romney as someone who cared about people like them.[342]

In an interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, Romney called Russia “our number one geopolitical foe.”[354][355] At the time an innocuous response to a foreign policy question, it became a focal point for Democratic attacks on Romney during the campaign.[356][357][358] Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, called Romney’s position “dated” and said Russia had been an ally in solving problems,[359] while Joe Biden, then vice president, accused Romney of having a “Cold War mentality” and being “uninformed” on foreign policy.[360][361] John Kerry, then a senator, called Romney’s comments “breathtakingly off target”[362] and reiterated that position at the Democratic National Convention, saying, “He’s even blurted out the preposterous notion that Russia is our number one political geopolitical foe.”[363] Romney defended his remarks, saying, “The nation which consistently opposes our actions at the United Nations has been Russia…Russia is a geopolitical foe in that regard,”[364] and continued to defend his position in the presidential debates.[365]

Colored map

County-by-county results of the election, shaded by percentage won: Obama in blue, Romney in red

The first of three 2012 presidential election debates took place on October 3, in Denver. Media figures and political analysts widely viewed Romney as having delivered a stronger and more focused presentation than Obama.[353][366] That debate overshadowed Obama’s improved presentation in the next two debates later in October, and Romney maintained a small advantage in the debates when seen as a whole.[367]

The election took place on November 6, and Obama was projected the winner at about 11:14 pm Eastern Standard Time.[368] He won 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. Romney lost all but one of nine battleground states and received 47% of the popular vote to Obama’s 51%.[369][370] Media accounts described Romney as “shellshocked” by the result.[371] He and his senior campaign staff had disbelieved public polls showing Obama narrowly ahead and had thought they were going to win until the vote tallies began to be reported on election night.[371] But Romney’s get out the vote operation had been inferior to Obama’s, both in person-to-person organization and in voter modeling and outreach technology[372] (the latter exemplified by the failure of the Project Orca application).[342] In his concession speech to his supporters, he said, “Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign. I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead this country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader.”[373] Reflecting on his defeat during a conference call to hundreds of fundraisers and donors a week after the election, Romney attributed the outcome to Obama’s having secured the votes of specific interest groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, young people, and women, by offering them what Romney called “extraordinary financial gifts.”[374][375][376] The remark drew heavy criticism from prominent members of the Republican party.[377][378]

Subsequent activities

Mitt and Ann Romney share a moment with his former running mate, Paul Ryan, as they witness the election and ascension of Ryan as the 54th Speaker of the House of Representatives on October 29, 2015

During the first year after his defeat, Romney generally kept a low profile,[379] with his ordinary daily activities around San Diego captured via social media glimpses.[380] In December 2012, he joined the board of Marriott International for a third stint as a director.[381] In March 2013, Romney gave a reflective interview on Fox News Sunday, saying, “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done.” He again expressed regret at the “47 percent” remark, saying “There’s no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign.”[382][383] (He echoed both those sentiments a year later.[384]) Romney began working as executive partner group chairman for Solamere Capital, a private capital firm in Boston owned by his son Tagg.[385] He was also involved in supporting several charitable causes.[385]

The Romneys bought a home in the Deer Valley area of Park City, Utah,[386][387] and a property in Holladay, Utah, where they planned to tear down an existing house and build a new one.[385] They also gained long-sought permission to replace their La Jolla home with a much bigger one, including a car elevator that had brought some derision during the 2012 campaign.[385][388] Romney and his siblings continued to own a cottage in a gated community called Beach O’ Pines south of Grand Bend, Ontario, which has been in the family for more than 60 years.[389] With the new acquisitions the couple briefly had five homes, near each of their five sons and their families, and the couple continued to spend considerable time with their grandchildren, who by 2013 numbered 22.[385][388] They then sold the condominium in Belmont and decided to make their main residence in Utah,[384] switching their voter registration.[387] The 2014 documentary film Mitt showed a behind-the-scenes, family-based perspective on both of Romney’s presidential campaigns and received positive reviews for humanizing Romney and illustrating the toll campaigning takes.[384][390][391]

Romney thought he might be branded a “loser for life” and fade into an obscurity like Michael Dukakis[384] (a similar figure with no obvious base of political support who had lost what his party considered a winnable presidential election)[392] but, to the surprise of many political observers, that did not happen.[393] Romney reemerged onto the political scene in the run-up to the 2014 U.S. midterm elections, endorsing, campaigning, and fundraising for a number of Republican candidates, especially those running for the U.S. Senate.[394][395]

Romney was treated for prostate cancer in summer 2017.[396]

2016 presidential election

By early 2014, the lack of a clear mainstream Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election led some supporters, donors, and pollsters to suggest that Romney stage a third run.[391] Regarding such a possibility, Romney at first responded, “Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.”[391] Nevertheless, speculation continued: Obama’s declining popularity led to remorse among some voters; the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine made Romney’s “number one geopolitical foe” remark look prescient; and an August 2014 poll of Iowa Republicans showed Romney with a large lead there over other potential 2016 candidates.[398] A July 2014 CNN poll showed Romney with a 53% to 44% lead over Obama in a hypothetical election “redo”.[399][400]

By early 2015, Romney was considering the idea and contacting his network of supporters.[401][402] In doing so he was positioning himself in the invisible primary – the preliminary jockeying for the backing of party leaders, donors, and political operatives – against former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who had already set a likely campaign in motion and would be a rival to Romney for establishment Republican support.[402][403] Despite support in some quarters for a third bid for the presidency, there was a backlash from conservatives who wanted a fresher face without a history of presidential losses,[404] and many of Romney’s past donors were not willing to commit to him again.[405] On January 30, 2015, Romney announced that he would not run for president in 2016, saying that while he thought he could win the nomination, “one of our next generation of Republican leaders” would be better positioned to win the general election.[406][407]

Relationship with Donald Trump

As the presidential election went into primary season, Romney had not endorsed anyone but was one of the Republican establishment figures who were becoming increasingly concerned about the front-runner status of New York businessman Donald Trump.[408] Romney publicly criticized Trump for not releasing his taxes, saying there might be a “bombshell” in them.[409] Trump responded by calling Romney “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics.”[408] In a March 3, 2016, speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, Romney made a scathing attack on Trump’s personal behavior, business performance, and domestic and foreign policy stances. He said Trump was “a phony, a fraud … He’s playing members of the American public for suckers” and that “if we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.”[410][411] In response, Trump dismissed Romney as a “choke artist.”[411] Romney’s speech represented an unprecedented attack by a major U.S. party’s most recent presidential nominee against the party’s current front-runner for the nomination.[411][412][413]

Romney encouraged Republicans to engage in tactical voting, by supporting whichever of the remaining rivals had the best chance to beat Trump in any given state.[414] As such, Romney announced he was voting for, although not endorsing, Ted Cruz for president in the March 22 Utah caucus.[415] As the race went on, there was some evidence that tactical voting was occurring, and some partial arrangements were formed among candidates,[416][417] but by May 3, Trump had defeated all his opponents and became the party’s presumptive nominee. Romney announced that he would not support Trump in the general election, saying, “I am dismayed at where we are now. I wish we had better choices.”[418]

In June, Romney said that he would not vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, saying: “It’s a matter of personal conscience. I can’t vote for either of those two people.” He suggested that he might vote for a third-party candidate, or write in his wife’s name, saying she would be “an ideal president.” When pressed on which of Trump and Clinton was more qualified to be president, Romney quoted P. J. O’Rourke: “Hillary Clinton is wrong on every issue, but she’s wrong within the normal parameters.”[419]

Romney considered voting for the Libertarian ticket of former Republican governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld (the latter, like Romney, also a former governor of Massachusetts), saying that he would “get to know Gary Johnson better and see if he’s someone who I could end up voting for,” adding that “if Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president.”[420] In September, he called for Johnson to be included in the presidential debates[421] and in October it emerged that Independent candidate Evan McMullin was using an email list of 2.5 million Romney supporters to raise money.[422] McMullin’s chief strategist said that it was purchased from Romney for President and that “we’ll let other folks discuss what that may mean and certainly never speak for [Romney].”[422] A spokeswoman for Romney said that the list had been “rented by several political candidates in the presidential primary, and by countless other political and commercial users in the time since the 2012 campaign”[422] and Romney made no public comment on McMullin’s candidacy.[423] Romney and his wife cast early ballots in Utah, but he declined to say who he voted for.[423] In May 2018, Romney revealed that he had cast a write-in vote for his wife Ann.[424]

After Trump won the election, Romney congratulated him by phone and on Twitter.[425] On November 19, Romney met with him at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, reportedly to discuss the position of Secretary of State,[426][427] which ultimately went to Rex Tillerson.[428] In February 2017, Romney said that Trump was “off to a very strong start” in fulfilling his campaign promises, although he had “no regrets” about his anti-Trump speech.[429] The next year, Trump endorsed Romney’s 2018 senate campaign.[430]

U.S. Senate



Romney being sworn in as Senator from Utah by Vice President Mike Pence

September and October 2017 press reports said that should U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch retire, Romney would run for that seat in 2018.[431][432] On January 2, 2018, after Hatch announced that he would retire, Romney changed his Twitter location from Massachusetts to Holladay, Utah, contributing to speculation that he was considering a run for Senate.[433] On February 16, 2018, Romney formally launched his campaign with a video message posted on Facebook and Twitter.[434][435][436]

At the state Republican nominating convention held on April 21, 2018, Romney received 1,585 delegate votes (49.12%), finishing narrowly second to State Representative Mike Kennedy, with 1,642 delegate votes (50.88%). Since neither Romney nor Kennedy garnered 60% of delegate votes to claim the endorsement, the two candidates competed in a June 26 primary election.[437] In the primary, Romney defeated Kennedy, 71.7%–28.3%.[438]

Romney was elected U.S. Senator from Utah on November 6, winning 62.6% to 30.9% over Democratic nominee Jenny Wilson.[439] The other 6.5% of the vote went to nominees of the Constitution, Libertarian, and Independent American parties.

With his election, Romney became the third person to have served as governor of one state and senator from another state.[440] (The other two were William W. Bibb, who served as a U.S. senator from Georgia and then the first governor of Alabama, and Sam Houston, who was the sixth governor of Tennessee before becoming a U.S. Senator from Texas.[440])


Romney with President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, and Alex Azar during a White House listening session on the youth vaping and electronic cigarette epidemic

Romney and other Republican Senators meet with President Joe Biden to discuss COVID-19 relief

Shortly before assuming office, Romney wrote a Washington Post editorial strongly criticizing Trump’s character.[441] Ronna McDaniel, Romney’s niece and the chair of the Republican National Committee, called his comments “disappointing and unproductive,” while Trump wrote that he “[w]ould much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful.”[442] By November 9, 2019, Romney was just one of three Republican senators, along with Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who declined to co-sponsor a resolution opposing the impeachment inquiry process into Trump.[443][444] He was one of two Republicans (with Collins) who joined all Democrats voting to allow impeachment witnesses.[445]

Romney condemned the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings, saying: “As we celebrate the miracle of Easter, we hold in our hearts the victims of the senseless violence in Sri Lanka and their loved ones.”[446]

First impeachment of Donald Trump (2019–2020)

‘FULL REMARKS — Senator Mitt Romney to vote to convict President Trump on Abuse of Power’ – video from CSPAN

On February 5, 2020, after Romney read a prepared text on the Senate floor decrying “corrupting an election to keep oneself in office” as “perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine,”[447][448] he broke ranks with the Republican majority as the sole Republican senator to vote to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial,[449] thereby becoming, according to press reports, the first U.S. senator in United States history to vote to convict a president of the same political party.[450][451][452] Romney voted in favor of the first of the two articles of impeachment, which charged Trump with abuse of power, but against convicting him on obstruction of Congress. He was the only Republican in the Senate to vote for any of the articles.

Fallout from the vote included Romney’s being formally censured by various Republican organizations outside of Utah; in comparison, anger against Romney among Republicans within Utah was more muted, and his impeachment vote, according to opinion polling, was supported by Utah Democrats.[453] Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah‘s Hinckley Institute of Politics, said, “Democrats in Utah were more excited about Mitt Romney’s vote than [Utah] Republicans were disappointed.”[454] Republicans for the Rule of Law ran various ads thanking Romney.[455][456][457] Romney was praised by many for voting not by his party allegiances, but by his belief about whether Trump abused his power.

March with Black Lives Matter

On June 7, 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd and the worldwide protests against police brutality, Romney became the first Republican senator to participate in a protest alongside Black Lives Matter.[458][459] He said, “We need many voices against racism and against brutality, and we need to make sure that people understand that Black Lives Matter.”[460] This act drew praise and admiration from the left and right, with some Republicans questioning why other congressional Republicans weren’t showing support for the movement. On Twitter, Senator Kamala Harris praised Romney’s actions, saying, “We need more of this.”[461] Trump attacked Romney, saying, “Tremendous sincerity, what a guy. Hard to believe, with this kind of political talent, his numbers would ‘tank’ so badly in Utah!”[462]

2020 presidential election

Romney did not endorse Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and told reporters that he did not vote for him.[463] In a Washington Post op-ed, Romney wrote that Trump “has not risen to the mantle of the office.”[464] After the victory of Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, Romney was the first Republican senator to extend his congratulations to them.[465]

2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

On the morning of January 5, 2021, Romney was heckled and harassed at the airport on his way to Washington D.C. to certify Joe Biden’s election win in the Senate.[466] He was attacked by Trump supporters for not backing Trump’s unverified conspiracy theories regarding inconsistencies in the election.[467][468]

On the morning of January 6, protesters assembled at the “Save America” rally on the Ellipse, where Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and several members of Congress addressed the crowd fueling the conspiracy theories about election fraud.[469][470][471] Trump said, “We will never give up, we will never concede. You don’t concede when there’s theft,” and encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” to “take back our country” and to march to the Capitol.[472] Later that day, while the Senate was in session certifying the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count within the United States Capitol, hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed the capitol, where they looted senators’ offices and broke into the chamber of the United States Senate. Police evacuated the senators and Vice President Mike Pence to an undisclosed area. As they were evacuating Romney, he yelled at Ted Cruz and other Republican congressmen, “This is what you’ve gotten, guys.”[473] According to New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin, Romney told him with “fury in his voice,” “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.”[474] Romney fully rebuked Trump, and condemned the actions of the domestic terrorists. Romney stated on the Senate floor later that night, when Congress had reconvened:

“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning…Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy…They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.”[475][476]

Second impeachment of Donald Trump (2021)

On January 13, 2021, the House voted to impeach Trump a second time for incitement of insurrection.[477] On January 26, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced a motion to dismiss the impeachment charge. The objection was defeated on a 55–45 vote; Romney was one of the five Republicans to vote against it, along with Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey.[478]

On February 10, 2021, new video was released during the Trump’s second impeachment trial, which showed capitol police officer Eugene Goodman saving Romney from running into the Capitol rioters.[479] During a break in the hearing, Romney said, “It was very troubling seeing the great violence the capitol police were subjected to. It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. It was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.” Romney also stated he didn’t know how close he was and he didn’t know it was Goodman who diverted him away from the rioters but he looked forward to thanking Goodman.[480]

On February 13, 2021, Romney and five other Republican senators voted to allow other witnesses in the impeachment trial. Republican Senator and Trump ally Ron Johnson, who was “visibly upset,” got in a heated exchange with Romney for his vote, saying, “We never should’ve had this impeachment trial.”[481] Later that day Romney voted to convict Trump for the second time along with six of his Republican colleagues. The final vote was 57 to convict and 43 to acquit. He wrote a statement that read in part:

“President Trump attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state. President Trump incited the insurrection against Congress by using the power of his office to summon his supporters to Washington on January 6th and urging them to march on the Capitol during the counting of electoral votes. He did this despite the obvious and well known threats of violence that day. President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol. Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction”[482]

Commission to investigate attack on Capitol

On May 27, 2021, along with five other Republicans and all present Democrats, Romney voted to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. The vote failed for lack of 60 required “yes” votes.[483]

Committee assignments




Political positions

Romney and Obama shaking hands

Romney meeting with President Obama after the 2012 presidential election.

In addition to calling for cuts in federal government spending to help reduce the national debt, Romney proposed measures intended to limit the growth of entitlement programs, such as introducing means testing and gradually raising the eligibility ages for receipt of Social Security and Medicare.[485] He supported substantial increases in military spending and promised to invest more heavily in military weapons programs while increasing the number of active-duty military personnel.[486][487] He was very supportive of the directions taken by the budget proposals of Paul Ryan, though he later proposed his own budget plan.[488][489]

Romney pledged to lead an effort to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and replace it with a system that gives states more control over Medicaid and makes health insurance premiums tax-advantaged for individuals in the same way they are for businesses.[490] He favored repeal of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Sarbanes–Oxley Act and intended to replace them with what he called a “streamlined, modern regulatory framework.”[491][492]

He also promised to seek income tax law changes that he said would help to lower federal deficits and would stimulate economic growth. These included reducing individual income tax rates across the board by 20%, maintaining the Bush administration-era tax rate of 15% on investment income from dividends and capital gains (and eliminating this tax entirely for those with annual incomes less than $200,000), cutting the top tax rate on corporations from 35% to 25%, and eliminating the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax.[493][494] He promised that the loss of government revenue from these tax cuts would be offset by closing loopholes and placing limits on tax deductions and credits available to taxpayers with the highest incomes,[494] but said that that aspect of the plan could not yet be evaluated because details would have to be worked out with Congress.[495]

Romney opposed the use of mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions to deal with global warming.[314] He stated that he believed climate change is occurring, but that he did not know how much of it could be linked to human activity.[314] He was a proponent of increased domestic oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), building more nuclear power plants, and reducing the regulatory authority of the Environmental Protection Agency.[496][497] He believed North American energy independence could be achieved by 2020.[498]

Romney called Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe”,[499] a position many ridiculed him for,[358] including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright,[500] who later publicly apologized to him.[501] He has asserted that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear capability should be America’s “highest national security priority.”[502] Romney stated his strong support for Israel.[503] He planned to formally label China a currency manipulator and take associated counteractions unless China changed its trade practices.[504] Romney supported the Patriot Act,[505] the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and use of enhanced interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists.[505] He described same-sex marriage as a “state issue” while running for Senate in 1994 and opposed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2002.[506] Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions, but favored domestic partnership legislation that gives certain legal rights to same-sex couples, such as hospital visitation.[507] In 2011, he signed a pledge promising to seek passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[508]

Romney said he would support President Donald Trump‘s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

Since 2005, Romney described himself as “pro-life.”[509] That year, he wrote: “I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother.”[510][nb 9][nb 13] During his 1994 Senate campaign, Romney had said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country”, a stance he reiterated during his 2002 campaign for governor.[130][513] While Romney would prefer to see passage of a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion, he did not believe the public would support such an amendment;[514] as an alternative, he promised to nominate Supreme Court justices who would help overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing each state to decide on the legality of abortion.[515] His earlier pro-abortion rights stance in particular and support for some gay rights and gun restrictions as governor of Massachusetts earned him the criticism of some conservatives; the conservative magazine Human Events labeled him one of the top ten RINOs in 2005.[516]

Romney said he would appoint federal judges in the mold of U.S. Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito.[517][518] He advocated judicial restraint and strict constructionism as judicial philosophies.[518][519]

Romney declared his support for the Black Lives Matter international human rights movement by attending the rally,[520] and then joining the Faith Works[521] march, on June 7, 2020,[522] from southeast Washington,[521] past the Trump International Hotel,[520] and Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool,[520] over the murder of George Floyd.[522][520][521][523]

In July 2020, Romney, along with Pat Toomey, was one of two Republican U.S. Senators who condemned Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, which Romney described as “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”[524]

Social media

In the October 2019 issue of The Atlantic, Romney revealed that he used a secret Twitter account to keep tabs on the political conversation, saying, “What do they call me, a lurker?”[525] Shortly thereafter, Slate found a Twitter account with the name Pierre Delecto. The account was registered in July 2011, followed about 700 people and had eight followers at the time it was discovered. It had tweeted 10 times in total, and always in reply to other tweets. Romney later confirmed that the account belongs to him.[526][527]

Electoral history

U.S. senator from Massachusetts

Massachusetts United States Senate Republican primary, 1994[528]
Republican Mitt Romney 188,280 82.04%
RepublicanJohn Lakian40,89817.82%
Total votes229,496 100.00%
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1994[529]
Democratic Ted Kennedy (incumbent) 1,266,011 58.07% –6.90%
RepublicanMitt Romney894,00541.01%+7.08%
LibertarianLauraleigh Dozier14,4840.66%+0.15%
LaRouche Was RightWilliam A. Ferguson, Jr.4,7760.22%+0.22%
Total votes2,179,964 100.00%
Democratic hold

Governor of Massachusetts

Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2002
Republican Mitt Romney (Kerry Healey) 1,091,988 49.77% –1.04%
DemocraticShannon O’Brien (Chris Gabrieli)985,98144.94%–2.44%
Green-RainbowJill Stein (Tony Lorenzen)76,5303.49%+3.49%
LibertarianCarla Howell (Rich Aucoin)23,0441.05%–0.64%
IndependentBarbara C. Johnson (Joe Schebel)15,3350.70%+0.70%
Total votes2,194,179 100.00% +4.04%
Republican holdSwing+1.40%

2012 Republican nominee for President of the United States

2012 United States presidential election
Democratic Barack Obama / Joe Biden (inc.) 65,915,795 51.06%
RepublicanMitt Romney / Paul Ryan60,933,50447.20%
LibertarianGary Johnson / Jim Gray1,275,9710.99%
GreenJill Stein / Cheri Honkala469,6270.36%
ConstitutionVirgil Goode / James Clymer122,3890.09%
Peace and FreedomRoseanne Barr / Cindy Sheehan67,3260.05%
JusticeRocky Anderson / Luis J. Rodriguez43,0180.03%
American IndependentTom Hoefling / J.D. Ellis40,6280.03%
ReformAndre Barnett / Kenneth Cross9560.00%
Total votes129,085,410 100.00%
Democratic hold

U.S. Senator from Utah

Utah State Republican Convention results, 2018
CandidateFirst ballotPct.Second ballotPct.
Mike Kennedy1,35440.69%1,64250.88%
Mitt Romney1,53946.24%1,58549.12%
Loy Brunson40.12%Eliminated
Alicia Colvin290.87%Eliminated
Stoney Fonua70.21%Eliminated
Chris Forbush00%Eliminated
Timothy Jiminez1003.01%Eliminated
Joshua Lee20.06%Eliminated
Larry Meyers1634.90%Eliminated
Gayle Painter00%Eliminated
Samuel Parker1223.67%Eliminated
Republican primary results, Utah 2018[530]
Republican Mitt Romney 240,021 71.27%
RepublicanMike Kennedy96,77128.73%
Total votes336,792 100.00%
United States Senate general election in Utah, 2018[531]
Republican Mitt Romney 665,215 62.59% –2.72%
DemocraticJenny Wilson328,54130.91%+0.93%
ConstitutionTim Aalders28,7742.71%–0.46%
LibertarianCraig Bowden27,6072.60%N/A
Reed McCandless12,7081.20%N/A
Total votes1,062,897 100.00% N/A
Republican hold

Awards and honors

Honorary degrees

1999University of UtahDoctorate of Business[532]
2002Bentley CollegeDoctor of Law[533]
2004Suffolk University Law School[534]
2007Hillsdale CollegeDoctorate in Public Service[535]
2012Liberty University[536]
2013Southern Virginia UniversityHonorary Doctorate[537]
2015Jacksonville UniversityHonorary Doctorate[538]
2015Utah Valley UniversityDoctorate of Business[539]
2015Saint Anselm CollegeHonrary Doctorate[540]

Non-Academic Awards and Honors

People magazine included Romney in its 50 Most Beautiful People list for 2002,[541] and in 2004, a foundation that promotes the Olympic truce gave him its inaugural Truce Ideal Award.[542] The Cranbrook School gave him its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.[21] In 2008, he shared with his wife Ann the Canterbury Medal from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, for “refus[ing] to compromise their principles and faith” during the presidential campaign.[543] In 2012, Time magazine included Romney in their List of The 100 Most Influential People in the World.[544]

In 2021, Romney received the Profile in Courage Award.[545]

Published works

See also


  1. ^ Pranks conducted by Romney during his Cranbrook years included sliding down golf courses on large ice cubes, dressing as a police officer and tapping on the car windows of friends who were making out, and staging an elaborate formal dinner on the median of a busy street.[20][22] The golf course escapade led to Romney and Ann Davies being detained by local police.[25][26]

    In 2012, five former classmates described a 1965 episode where Romney, then a senior, took the lead in holding down a younger student while cutting his long, bleached-blond hair with scissors.[21] Romney said that he does not recall the incident, though he acknowledged that he might have participated in some high school “hijinks and pranks” that went too far, and he apologized for any harm that resulted from them.[27][28]

  2. ^ Pranks conducted by Romney during his Stanford years included dressing as a police officer and pretending to arrest people[31] and pre-“Big Game” customs involving the Stanford Axe.[32]
  3. ^ Mitt’s great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and two uncles had been missionaries,[34] as had his brother, Scott.[35] He did briefly consider breaking with tradition and not going on a mission[36] (and he had successfully been rushed by the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity at Stanford, for sophomore year membership).[30] But he did go, and all five of Mitt’s sons later served as missionaries as well.[37]
  4. ^ Based on figures from 1971 to 2010, the average Mormon gets only 4–8 baptism converts to the faith per year during a mission.[38] The church succeeds in expanding by having huge numbers of missionaries, so that the small number of conversions from each one add up.[39]
  5. ^ Romney’s task was complicated by proselytizing for a religion that prohibits alcohol in a country known for it.[13] He reflected upon this in 2002: “As you can imagine, it’s quite an experience to go to Bordeaux and say, ‘Give up your wine! I’ve got a great religion for you!’”[41]
  6. ^ On June 16, 1968, Romney and five fellow Mormons were traveling on dangerous roads in southern France.[20][43][44] As they drove through the village of Bernos-Beaulac, a Mercedes that was passing a truck missed a curve and swerved into the opposite lane hitting the Citroën DS Romney was driving head-on.[20][45] Trapped between the steering wheel and door, the unconscious Romney had to be pried from the car; a French police officer mistakenly wrote Il est mort in his passport.[20][25][44] Besides killing the wife of the mission president, the other four passengers were seriously injured.[44] George Romney relied on his friend Sargent Shriver, the U.S. Ambassador to France, to go to the local hospital and discover that his son had survived.[25] Mitt Romney, who was not at fault in the accident,[35][44] had suffered broken ribs, a fractured arm, a concussion, and facial injuries, but recovered quickly without needing surgery.[43][44] The French police say that they have no records of the incident because such records are routinely destroyed after 10 years.[44]
  7. ^ Some sources incorrectly report that Romney graduated first in his class at BYU. Romney himself has corrected this notion, saying that he didn’t. While Romney believes he did have the highest grade point average for his on-campus BYU years in the College of Humanities, he did not if his Stanford record was factored in.[56][57]
  8. ^ One study of 68 deals that Bain Capital made during Romney’s time there found that the firm lost money or broke even on 33 of them.[69] Another study that looked at the eight-year period following 77 deals during Romney’s time found that in 17 cases the company went bankrupt or out of business, and in 6 cases Bain Capital lost all its investment. But 10 deals were very successful and represented 70 percent of the total profits.[85]
  9. ^ a b Romney’s cited exceptions regarding abortion are in line with those of the LDS Church,[108] which allows it in cases of rape, incest, when the mother’s health is seriously threatened, or when the fetus cannot survive past birth.[69] When Romney was a bishop in the 1980s, there was a case where a woman in his congregation with four children was advised by her doctor to terminate her pregnancy because she had a potentially life-threatening blood clot. Romney strongly advised her not to, but she did anyway.[69][108]
  10. ^ Kennedy spent $10.5 million overall, including a $1.5 million loan to himself.[134] This was the second-most expensive race of the 1994 election cycle, after the Dianne FeinsteinMichael Huffington Senate race in California.
  11. ^ Official state figures for fiscal year 2005 (July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2005) declared a $594.4 million surplus.[166][183] For fiscal 2006, the surplus was $720.9 million.[183] During fiscal 2007, Romney cut $384 million in spending that the legislature wanted; in January 2007, midway through the fiscal year, incoming Governor Deval Patrick restored that amount,[184] and also declared that the state faced a “looming budget shortfall” of $1 billion for fiscal 2008.[185] Patrick consequently proposed a budget for fiscal 2008 that included $515 million in spending cuts and $295 million in new corporate taxes.[186] As it happened, the state ended fiscal 2007 with a $307.1 million deficit and fiscal 2008 with a $495.2 million deficit.[183]
  12. ^ Upon passage of the law, Romney said “There really wasn’t Republican or Democrat in this. People ask me if this is conservative or liberal, and my answer is yes. It’s liberal in the sense that we’re getting our citizens health insurance. It’s conservative in that we’re not getting a government takeover.”[193] Within four years, the Massachusetts law had achieved its primary goal of expanding coverage: in 2010, 98% of state residents had coverage, compared to a national average of 83%. Among children and seniors the 2010 coverage rate was even higher, 99.8% and 99.6% respectively. Approximately two-thirds of residents received coverage through employers; one-sixth each received it through Medicare or public plans.[199]
  13. ^ a b Romney also amended his position on embryonic stem cell research: having once supported it broadly, he changed to being against therapeutic cloning of embryos for scientific research, insisting that “surplus embryos” from fertility treatments should be used instead.[511][512]
  14. ^ American political opinion periodically looked towards industry for business managers who it was thought could straighten out what was held to be wrong in the nation’s capital. The track record of such efforts was at best mixed, with Lee Iacocca declining to run, Romney’s father George and Steve Forbes failing to get far in the primaries, and Ross Perot staging one of the more successful third-party runs in American history.[223][224]
  15. ^ Biographical parallels between George and Mitt Romney include: Both served as Mormon missionaries in Europe and considered the experiences formative. Both pursued high school sweethearts single-mindedly until the women agreed to marry them several years later, then had families with four or five children. Both had very successful careers in business and became known for turning around failing companies or organizations. Both presided over a stake in the LDS Church. Both achieved their first elected position at age 55, as Republican governor of a Democratic-leaning state. The two bear a close physical resemblance at similar ages and both have been said to “look like a president”. Both staged their first presidential run in the year they turned 60. Both were considered suspect by ideological conservatives within the Republican Party.[23][225] Neither protested publicly against the LDS Church policy that did not allow black people in its lay clergy, although the elder Romney hoped the church leadership would revise the policy,[226] and his son has said that he was greatly relieved when the church did so in 1978.[35][106][227] There are also obvious differences in their paths, including that George had a hardscrabble upbringing while Mitt’s was affluent, and that Mitt far exceeded George’s accomplishments in formal education. Another is that Mitt’s personality is more reserved, private, and controlled than his father’s was, traits he got from his mother Lenore,[55] and his political personality is also shaped at least as much by Lenore as by George.[54] And while George was willing to defy political trends, Mitt has been much more willing to adapt to them.[23][54][179]
  16. ^ Regarding the role of Romney’s religion in the 2008 campaign, one academic study, based upon research conducted throughout the 2008 primaries, showed that a negative perception of Mormonism was widespread during the election, and that perception was often resistant to factual information that would correct mistaken notions about the religion or Romney’s relationship to it.[246] The authors concluded that, “For Romney … religion is the central story.”[246] Another study, analyzing a survey conducted during January 2008 (when an African American, a woman, and a Mormon all had realistic chances of becoming the first president from that group), found that voters had internally accepted the notion of black equality, paving the way for Barack Obama‘s election; had partially established but not fully internalized the notion of gender equality, making Hillary Clinton‘s task somewhat more difficult; but had only selectively internalized the notion of religious equality, and in particular not extended it to Mormons, thus making Romney’s run significantly more difficult.[247] Those authors concluded that, “for a Mormon candidate, the road to the presidency remains very rough … The bias against a Mormon candidate is substantial.”[247]
  17. ^ During most of Romney’s first stint on the Marriott board, he was a member of, and for six years chair of, the board’s audit committee.[272] In 1994, during Romney’s time as chair, Marriott implemented the Son of BOSS tax shelter, which resulted in the company claiming $71 million in losses. In 2008 and 2009, federal courts ruled this use of the shelter illegal and said those losses never existed. PolitiFact.com calls a 2012 claim that Romney personally approved the shelter as “Half True”.[272][273]
  18. ^ After having attended the 2010 Winter Olympics, Romney and wife were on board an Air Canada plane waiting to take off on a flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles when he got into a physical altercation with Sky Blu, sitting in front of him, over Sky Blu’s seat not being in the upright position. Romney said that Sky Blu became physically violent and that he did not retaliate, while Sky Blu said that Romney gave him a “Vulcan grip” first and that he responded physically to that. Sky Blu was escorted off the aircraft by Canadian police but Romney did not press charges and Sky Blu was released.[279][280][281]


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