Mitt Romney headed back to Park City this summer
Mitt Romney appears to be headed back to Park City later this year with a large group of Republicans and, probably, some of the party’s stars.
National news outlets have reported Romney will host a gathering in the city in June. It will follow a year after Romney huddled with hundreds of high-dollar donors and prominent Republicans during an event in Deer Valley between the time he secured the party’s White House nomination and the Republican National Convention.
Thomas Wright, the chairman of the Utah Republican Party, said he would attend the Romney event in June, saying he anticipates potential candidates for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016 will travel to Park City. He said he expects the gathering will be a "significant" event.
Wright praised Romney’s desire to remain involved with the Republican Party after the Election Day loss last November, calling it admirable. The event in Park City will show Romney will continue to help the party, Wright said. He called Romney "very important" to the GOP.
"He’s going to stick around like any good leader," Wright said.
Wright said Romney could outline campaign strategies for the Republican Party, including at the grass-roots level and with technology. He said the former candidate could also address outreach efforts by the party to minorities and other groups.
"We’re going to be in their communities now, building relationships," Wright said.
Romney’s history in Park City stretches to before the 2002 Winter Olympics. He once was a Park City homeowner and spent time in the city during his time leading the Olympics. He remains popular in the community, having won Summit County on Election Day. His presence on the ballot last year was credited with providing a boost to down-ticket Republican campaigns.
The 2012 event in Park City was one of the local political highlights of the election cycle. It was centered in Silver Lake Village, and the attendees stayed at The Chateaux at Silver Lake and Stein Eriksen Lodge. It did not include public events, but the people at the gathering were seen being shuttled between locations in Silver Lake Village.
The Romney gathering last year, meanwhile, provided a boost to the Park City economy in what is normally a down time for tourism between the end of the ski season and the start of the busiest period of the summer. The lodging industry, food services and transportation companies were among those that benefited. One lodging executive at the time estimated the event could have added between $500,000 and $750,000 to the Park City economy between spending on lodging and meals.
The Park City Police Department by midweek had not been notified of the upcoming event. The gathering in 2012 involved a heavy police presence with Romney being the presumptive Republican nominee at the time.
Two people indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.