The bigger hurdles for Romney are his well-stated problems with Trump and his shifting opinions.
During the 2016 presidential race, Romney called Trump a "con-man" and a phony.
Romney, who called Russia the biggest geopolitical threat facing the United States during his 2012 presidential campaign, said he was also keeping a close eye on the evidence emerging about Russian meddling in U.S. elections but was still thinking about what remedies would best address that encroachment.
Romney sought to put a positive spin on the convention vote and the need for a primary.
"I think my experience in the business world; in the not-for-profit world with the Olympics and as governor, and also as a nominee for president in our party, gives me the associations that I have in Washington to get things done", he said. No Democrat has won a Senate seat in Utah since 1977.
A former MA governor, he ran for president in both 2008 and 2012. -Goliath race, as Romney has raised $1.68 million to Kennedy's $289,000.
Yet going into Saturday, many Utah Republicans expected Romney to fall short - including some in the Romney camp. After two rounds of voting, no candidate reached that threshold, forcing a wider primary election.
In 2010, three-term Sen. Kennedy captured 51 percent of the vote. In 2012, Hatch fell just short of the 60 percent support he needed to prevent a primary; he went on to win that primary with 66.5 percent of the vote.
Romney previously secured his spot on the primary ballot by gathering 28,000 voter signatures but said Saturday that choice was partly to blame for his loss. That alienated some conservative delegates.
Romney also spoke against federal overreach, particularly on federal lands, and said he would represent "Utah values" in Washington. "He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat".
Whether Trump endorses either candidate will be interesting.
Despite the criticism, Trump briefly considered making Romney his Secretary of State.
On the campaign trail in Utah, Romney has noted that he largely agrees with Trump on policy, but does not condone Trump's harsh tone on immigration, his rapid-fire insults over Twitter, or his frequent attempts at character assassination as a governing style. Did very, very well, ' Romney told Salt Lake City's Fox 13 following his defeat. "Freedom of religion is under assault in court". "I'm not always with the president on what he might say or do, and if that happens I'll call them like I see them, the way I have in the past".
Hatch, 83, the longest-serving Republican within the Senate, introduced his retirement plans a number of months in the past, regardless of efforts by President Trump to persuade him to remain in Washington. Romney, who had not quite satisfied pro-Trump delegates, was speaking more carefully.