Romney talks business, not Senate run, with Utah tech crowd

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the tech sector during an industry conference dubbed Silicon Slopes, the nickname for Utah's burgeoning cluster of tech companies, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Those close to the 70-year-old say he's interested in running for the Utah Senate seat being vacated by Republican Orrin Hatch and expect an announcement soon, though Romney has demurred so far. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked business with a dose of politics in an appearance before Utah’s tech industry but kept mum about his political future Friday amid rampant speculation about a Senate run.

Instead, the frequent critic of President Donald Trump emphasized the importance of good character in the business world and working with the opposing party in the political one, though there was no mention of the president. He also said the new Republican tax plan would be good for business and sounded a note of caution on Russia.

Shouts of encouragement for a Romney run came from the well-heeled crowd at the conference named Silicon Slopes for Utah’s burgeoning cluster of tech companies, reflecting his large well of good will there.

It was Romney’s second Salt Lake City appearance this week as he ratchets up his public profile in his adopted home state. A Tuesday campaign-style speech on policy and economics had a more professorial tone aided by charts and graphs.

People close to the 70-year-old former Massachusetts governor expect him to make an announcement soon for the Utah Senate seat being vacated by Republican Orrin Hatch.

After his failed 2012 presidential election, Romney moved to Utah, the site of his triumphant role running the 2002 Olympics and home of his faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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