Utah Republicans voted to nominate Rep. John Curtis, a critic of former President Donald Trump, for retiring Sen. Mitt Romney’s Senate seat.

Curtis won the GOP primary in Utah on Tuesday, beating Trent Staggs, a MAGA Republican who won Trump’s endorsement. The heavily Mormon state has shown historic skepticism of Trump’s MAGA policies.

Trump’s endorsement of Stagg complimented his policies and referred to Romney as a loser and Staggs as a 100% MAGA choice for the Utah seat.

Curtis was first elected in 2017 and is a moderate conservative. He has refused to endorse Trump throughout his time in office and has criticized the former president on foreign policy. He voted in support of the 2020 election results and criticized Trump following the Jan. 6 attacks at the Capitol. Additionally, his wife supported former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley during her presidential campaign.

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Curtis voted against Trump’s impeachment twice in the House, while Romney voted guilty in both trials. Romney announced plans to retire from the Senate last year due to his disagreement with MAGA politics. Trump posted on Truth Social following this announcement, calling it “fantastic news” for the Utah Republican party.

Staggs had Trump’s endorsement before the state GOP convention and had won the convention prior to his primary loss. However, Stagg ran no advertising during his campaign, while Curtis spent $1.5 million on political advertising.

Curtis was encouraged to run for office by a super PAC funded by climate activist Jay Fiason. The super PAC is estimated to have provided Curtis with nearly $7 million in support.

Romney congratulated Curtis via X following the primary, calling him a “man of honor and integrity” and stating that Utah was lucky to have him as a representative.

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