Rep. Mike Kennedy joins growing list of GOP candidates challenging Mitt Romney

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Mike Kennedy of the Utah State House of Representatives is the latest Republican candidate vying for Sen. Orrin Hatch's soon-to-be-vacated senate seat.

Kennedy is among several GOP candidates now challenging former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to replace Hatch in the U.S. Senate.

“We need a candidate who’s actually lived, worked and raised a family in the state of Utah,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy compared entering the race with Romney to learning to play basketball.

“You go against the best and most capable basketball player and they will slam dunk you over and over again... I’m happy to have great competition because that fosters more strength in myself,” he said.

According to the Lt. Governor's Office, seven other Republican candidates have already filed to run for U.S. Senate:

  • Gayle Leslie Painter
  • Samuel B. Parker
  • Tim Jimenez
  • Stoney Fonua
  • Jeremy Lewis Friedbaum
  • Alicia Colvin
  • Larry Meyers

Utah Policy also lists L'Capi Titus and Jay Hyatt as potential GOP contenders for the senate seat.

So far, three Democratic candidates have filed: Jenny Wilson, Larry Lingston and Mitchell Vice. Tim Aalders of the Constitution Party and Reed C. McCandless of the Independent American Party are also seeking the seat.

Watch FOX 13 News and fox13now.com for updates.