Mitt Romney wins Utah GOP primary race against Mike Kennedy

OREM, Utah -- Former Salt Lake Olympic boss Mitt Romney has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

Romney, who is also the former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate, defeated his challenger, Dr. Mike Kennedy, a state lawmaker. Romney captured 71.71 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning.

Kennedy forced Romney into a primary election at the Utah Republican Party convention earlier this year amid intra-party fighting over how candidates get on the ballot. Romney gathered signatures in addition to going through the caucus/convention, ensuring a spot on the ballot. Kennedy was a favorite of GOP hardliners who support the caucus/convention system only.

Romney declared victory in a speech just after a majority of the results were returned, promising to take "Utah values to Washington." He made some veiled references to Trump policies.

Watch Romney's victory speech here:

 

Kennedy called Romney at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, and conceded the race to his opponent.

Romney will next face Democratic Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson for the seat being held by Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring.