Rick Bowmer, Associated Press
FILE - In this June 20, 2018, file photo, Mitt Romney smiles during a campaign event in American Fork, Utah. Romney is calling for a high-tech early detection system and more logging to prevent wildfires ravaging the U.S. West. The U.S. Senate candidate in Utah said in an essay Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, the government can do more to prevent fires there and other places like California, which is fighting its largest wildfire in state history.

SALT LAKE CITY — Tim Aalders, a third-party candidate for the U.S. Senate, is running commercials on radio stations throughout the state declaring he is the "only conservative Republican on the ballot" and urging voters to reject Mitt Romney.

"No one can trust Mitt Romney. Is he the anti-gun, pro-choice, pro-amnesty liberal from Massachusetts or is he the so-called conservative who wants to impeach President (Donald) Trump," the 60-second spot begins.

Aalders, who ran as a Republican in 2012 against Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and as an Independent American Party candidate in 2014 for the 4th Congressional District seat won by Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, describes himself as a "real Republican."

He said in the ad that he will fight amnesty, presumably for immigrants in the country illegally, lower taxes and join the president "against professional politicians so he can truly drain the swamp."

Romney's campaign had no comment on the Aalders ad.

A Mississippi-based consultant for Aalders campaign, Howie Morgan, said $8,000 is being spent on the commercials with more than half of that amount for airtime in the Salt Lake market.

Asked why Aalders is running as a Constitution Party candidate but calling himself a Republican in the ad, Morgan said Aalders has "always been a strong believer in the Constitution" and wanted to ensure a place on the ballot.

"Tim made his choice to be in the general election to challenge Mitt Romney directly because he didn't believe the process in the Republican Party is one that has proven to be fair to conservatives," Morgan said.

A dozen candidates sought the GOP nomination and delegates to the Republican Party's state convention in April sent Romney and state Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, to a primary election in June.

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Although Kennedy beat Romney at the convention, 51 percent to 49 percent, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, won the Republican primary with nearly 72 percent of the vote.

Aalders is the first third-party candidate to advertise in the race to fill the seat now held by Hatch, who is not seeking re-election after more than four decades in the Senate.

The ad calls Aalders a third choice for Utah voters in November but does not mention the Democratic candidate for Senate, Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson.