Bennett getting help from Romney for his re-election quest

Published: Tuesday, April 20 2010 10:47 p.m. MDT

Mitt Romney

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, will bring out the biggest weapon he has to help him at the Utah Republican Party convention: Mitt Romney.

"He will introduce the senator at the convention," said Jim Bennett, the senator's son and campaign manager.

Jim Bennett figures that should bring some electricity to the gathering because "he's the most popular political figure in the state of Utah, so we're glad to have him on our side."

Bob Bennett has been under strong attack by conservatives who feel that he is not conservative enough, and he is being challenged by seven Republicans running to his right. But Jim Bennett said Romney is well beloved by many conservative delegates who may still be undecided about Bob Bennett, and he hopes his endorsement will have power.

"Nine of 10 voted for him the last presidential primary here," Jim Bennett said. "He's been a strong supporter and wants to be as helpful as he can."

Jim Bennett said the campaign and Romney are still discussing what other events Romney may participate in that weekend. "But it is confirmed that he will attend the convention and introduce the senator," he said.

Of course, it will not be the first time Romney has helped Bob Bennett.

Romney attended a fundraiser in Utah last year for Bob Bennett, where he brought in an estimated $225,000. Bob Bennett also used footage from that event in ads.

Bob Bennett's campaign also rented a contact list from Romney's Free and Strong America PAC to help with fundraising and campaigning.

Of course, Romney, head of the 2002 Olympics in Utah and a presidential candidate in 2008, is expected to run for president again in 2012. Another 2012 potential presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has also campaigned in Utah for Romney. But Bob Bennett has said he would support Romney for president if he runs.

Does the senator plan any other surprise appearances from supporters at the convention? "It wouldn't be a surprise if I told you," Jim Bennett said, but quickly added that nothing else has been arranged so far.

e-mail: lee@desnews.com

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