Mitt Romney, a prominent President Trump critic, won a U.S. Senate seat in Utah, according to projections from the Associated Press. Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, will replace retiring Senator Orrin Hatch, the Associated Press projects.
Romney enjoyed virtual shoo-in status and spent much of the election run up campaigning for fellow Republicans in Utah and other states.
Romney has been one of Trump’s most prominent critics from within the Republican Party, referring to then-candidate Trump in a March 2016 speech as “a phony, a fraud.” As a senator, Romney could prove an irritant for the White House, like the late Arizona Republican John McCain, who was a prominent voice — and sometimes vote — against some of the president’s policies and actions.
Though tensions have thawed between Romney and the president, he kept Trump at arm’s length throughout his campaign and often added a critical two cents. Romney supported re-opening the background investigation on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, demanded “withering” sanctions for Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi’s killers and, most recently, denounced the president’s criticisms of the media as “the enemy of the people.”