Mitt Romney delays Senate announcement after Florida school shooting

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 19: Former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is interviewed at the Silicon Slopes Tech Conference on January 19, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. There is a push for Romney to run for the Utah Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Orrin Hatch this year. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced on Twitter Wednesday he is delaying his scheduled announcement about the Utah Senate race, citing the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“As a father and grandfather, my heart aches for the victims of today’s tragic events. My prayers go out to all of the families and loved ones affected by this senseless act of violence,” Romney tweeted. “Out of respect for the victims and their families, I will not be making an announcement tomorrow about the Senate race.”

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, became one of his party’s most outspoken critics of President Donald Trump’s candidacy during the 2016 campaign, and as Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch considered retirement, speculation grew that Romney — who resides in Utah — would seek to fill the seat.

At the beginning of the year, Hatch said he would not seek re-election, and Romney announced he would make a statement about his own political future on February 15. His decision to delay the announcement in light of the tragedy in Florida puts on hold for the time being his expected entry into the race for Senate in the heavily Republican state.