Mitt Romney backs Gov. Gary Herbert’s re-election bid

FILE - In this March 3, 2016, file photo, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. Romney is endorsing Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's re-election campaign. Romney praised Herbert's stewardship of the state's economy in a news release Thursday, pointing to the governor's efforts to keep taxes low and work with businesses. He also lauded the governor's push for more education funding, Thursday, June 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is endorsing Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s re-election campaign.

Romney praised Herbert’s stewardship of the state’s economy in a news release Thursday, pointing to the governor’s efforts to keep taxes low and work with businesses. He also lauded the governor’s push for more education funding.

Herbert is facing a primary battle later this month against Republican businessman Jonathan Johnson, who won the vote among GOP delegates at the state party’s convention.

Herbert became governor in 2009 when Jon Huntsman was named ambassador to China, and he’s now running for a second four-year term.

Romney is a closely watched figure in Utah, the state he has called home since wrapping up the 2012 failed campaign where he served as the country’s first major-party Mormon presidential nominee.

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