Utah Sen. Mitt Romney announced Wednesday he won’t run for reelection in 2024, opening up a safe Republican seat which could draw a large crowd of candidates.

It’s a monumental decision for Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, now viewed as an elder statesman within the GOP — or at least the factions of a pre-Donald Trump era. He has been a leading voice against the former president, and notably became the only senator in history to vote twice to impeach a president of his own party. Because of those positions, as we wrote last month, he could have faced a credible primary challenge to win a second term.

In an interview with the Washington Post’s Dan Balz, Romney denied his decision was motivated by concerns he might lose a primary, which would have been an ignominious end to a storied political career. He also pointed to recent polling that showed his approval rating rebounding among Utah Republican voters. He was already being challenged by Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, running to his right, who has been endorsed by

More from the Cook Political Report