When former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, he ushered in what news organizations dubbed “The Mormon Moment.”
While his recently announced Senate run may not attract the same attention as his run for the presidency, Romney, if elected, would join the list of Mormons serving in Congress.
Currently, there are 12 members of Congress who are also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One is Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, whose retirement creates the vacancy that Romney hopes to fill.
Here is a look at the 12 Mormons serving in Congress.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
Sen. Jeff Flake first came to Congress as a member of the House of Representatives in 2001 and went on to later join the Senate in 2013. In late 2017, Flake announced that he would retire from the Senate giving a lengthy speech, condemning President Donald Trump and addressing what he described as a "flagrant disregard of truth and decency" in politics today.
"There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles," Flake said. "Now is such a time."
The New York Times wrote that his LDS faith influenced his retirement speech.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
After serving in the Idaho Senate, Sen. Mike Crapo went to Washington in 1993 as a member of the House of Representatives and has been in the Senate since 1999. In 2010, Crapo, along with 14 U.S. senators and representatives, appealed to the government in Switzerland to allow LDS missionaries to remain in the country, the Deseret News reported. Crapo pled guilty in 2013 to a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
Sen. Orrin Hatch announced his retirement early this year after 40 years in the Senate. Hatch's four decades in Washington place him near the top of the list of longest-serving Republican senators.
Following the death of Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Hatch paid tribute to Elder Hales on the Senate floor.
Hatch made news headlines last week when two statements were released from the Utah Senator after the accusations of domestic abuse against White House aid Rob Porter.
"I am heartbroken by today's allegations," read Hatch's second statement. "In every interaction I've had with Rob, he has been courteous, professional, and respectful. My staff loved him and he was a trusted advisor. I do not know the details of Rob's personal life. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent. I am praying for Rob and those involved."
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada
When Romney ran for the presidency in 2012, news outlets speculated regarding the influence the Mormon senators in Nevada would have on the swing state. Sen. Dean Heller was one of those two Mormon senators, along with then-Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Heller has served in the Senate since 2011. In 2017, Heller made headlines as he "voiced opposition to various versions of the GOP-led Senate's health care provisions," the Deseret News reported.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
Sen. Mike Lee will represent Utah alongside the person elected to fill the vacancy created by Hatch’s retirement. Lee, who has served in the Senate since 2011, paid tribute to President Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president of the LDS Church, on the Senate floor earlier this year.
Last month, Lee opposed the bill that caused the government to shut down and then again voted against the bill that ended the shutdown, as reported in Deseret News.
Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico
Sen. Tom Udall had the company of Sen. Harry Reid as Mormon Democrats in the Senate until Sen. Reid's retirement in 2017. However, Udall is now the only Mormon Democrat in the Senate. Udall assumed office in 2009. When Romney spoke at BYU in 2014, a student asked what Romney thought of the assumption that Democrats can’t be good Mormons.
“I would say ‘bologna and ridiculous' is my response to that,” Romney said, according to The Daily Universe. “Obviously Democrats can be good members of the church, and there are members of the church who are Democrats that have been members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve as well as members throughout the church who are members of the Democratic Party.”
Earlier this week, Udall and six other senators penned a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray expressing their concern about the number of White House staff personnel who can access confidential information with interim security clearances.
“Credible recent reports indicate that 30-40 White House staff currently have full access to highly sensitive classified information with only interim security clearances,” the letter reads. “This practice seems to conflict with testimony from the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who confirmed to Congress yesterday that temporary or interim security clearances should provide staff with only limited access to sensitive and classified information.” The letter asks the FBI to share who holds interim security clearances and the status of their FBI background check.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah
Rep. Rob Bishop joined the House of Representatives in 2003. In 2009, he criticized the U.S. Census Bureau for not including LDS missionaries in the Utah census count, which caused Utah to lose an extra congressional seat in 2000.
Earlier this year, Bishop introduced a bill that would simplify the process to research marijuana’s medicinal uses.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah
In 2013, Rep. Chris Stewart became a member of the House of Representatives. After a visit to Russia last year, he brought up his concerns about the relationship between the United States and Russia, including the brief detaining of six LDS missionaries.
Following the proclamation that Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument would be downsized and split into three smaller sections, Stewart announced a plan to create legislation that would create a new national park at the monument site.
“We feel that’s a win-win. You love tourism? So do I,” Stewart told the Deseret News. “People will come for a national park, but many of them won’t come for a monument.”
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah
Rep. John Curtis replaced Jason Chaffetz’s House seat in 2017 following Chaffetz’s resignation.
Some of Curtis’ hallmarks from his time as Provo Mayor include bringing commercial flights to Provo, revitalizing downtown and Google Fiber coming to the city, as reported in the Daily Herald.
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah
Rep. Mia Love represents Utah’s 4th Congressional District and also represents a handful of minorities. She’s a member of the LDS Church; she was the first black female Republican ever elected to Congress and assumed office in 2015. Love is also the first Haitian-American in Congress.
When the Trump administration announced that Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake would not be able to renew their Temporary Protected Status, Love condemned the move, according to the Deseret News.
"There is going to be a full-court press on the president on this issue because this is a bad decision," she said.
Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho
Since 2011, Rep. Raúl Labrador has represented Idaho’s 1st Congressional District. In 2013, he introduce the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which would preserve the tax-exempt status for religious institutions and other nonprofit organizations for opposing same-sex marriage.31 comments on this story
In May of last year, Labrador announced he was joining the race for Idaho governor. The election takes place this November.
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho
Mike Simpson joined the House of Representatives in 1999. In 2004, he helped the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation secure the needed funds to preserve the Oneida Stake Academy, a secondary school operated by the LDS Church from 1888 to 1922.
Simpson announced earlier this year he had joined the race to be chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, according to the Idaho Statesman.