Mitt Romney would have been great president, Summit County GOP says |

Mitt Romney would have been great president, Summit County GOP says

Tal Adair would have liked to have had the opportunity to vote for Mitt Romney again.

The chairman of the Summit County Republican Party, Adair said on Friday Romney has knowledge, vision and experience. Romney said on Friday he would not seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

"For Summit County, he’d make a great president . . . I think he’s a good leader," Adair said, adding, "He’s a visionary. He can work with everybody, not just one side or the other."

Adair said he is unsure who he will support for the Republican nomination. He said Romney would have won the nomination in 2016 had he mounted a third campaign. Romney would have then beaten the Democratic nominee regardless of who was at the top of the ticket, Adair said.

"He did well for us. Why wouldn’t we want that on the national level," Adair said.

He said Summit County benefited from Romney’s skills while he led the 2002 Winter Olympics. Adair said he has met Romney once, at a forum in Salt Lake City a year or so ago.

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"He brings great passion. He brings great leadership to our nation . . . He just has that," he said.

Another prominent Republican in Summit County, Rep. Kraig Powell, said Romney’s announcement was not a political stunner. He said Romney would have had a less than 50-50 chance of winning the party’s nomination.

"It doesn’t surprise me much because there are so many other candidates and because there seems to be a new direction the Republican Party needs to take," Powell said.

Powell said Romney and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, grabbed the attention recently. There would not have been much space for another Republican candidate had Romney pursued the nomination, he said.

"I think it gives some other people a chance to make the circuit, make their case," Powell said, adding that it opens up fundraising opportunities for others as well.

Powell supported Romney in 2012 and is now considering which candidate to back in 2016. He wants a candidate without extreme views who is willing to compromise.

The local Democrats are interested in Romney’s decision. Summit County Democrats say Romney’s presence at the top of the ticket in 2012 helped down-ticket Republicans that year, including in the County Courthouse and Statehouse campaigns.

"It is certainly better for Utah Democrats," said Glenn Wright, the chairman of the Summit County Democratic Party, adding, "You just won’t see that additional surge."

Romney has a long history with Park City, including having two houses in the city at different times and holding high-level gatherings in Deer Valley for the past three years. The 2012 event, the largest of the three, was especially notable as it was held amid the presidential campaign.

Romney won Summit County on Election Day in 2012 with 52.4 percent of the vote. He also won the county in the two Republican presidential primaries in which he competed — 2012 and 2008.