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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks to reporters in the Senate Subway of the U.S. Capitol on April 07, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, former governor of Massachusetts and unsuccessful 2012 Republican nominee for president, announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection after his current term expires, calling for a “new generation of leaders” to face America’s myriad challenges.

“I have spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another. At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-eighties,” said Romney, age 76. “Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”

In his announcement, Romney panned both the current Democrat president as well as his Republican predecessor and potential 2024 opponent as similarly unserious about problems facing the United States.

“We face critical challenges—mounting national debt, climate change, and the ambitious authoritarians of Russia and China,” he said. “Neither President Biden nor former President Trump are leading their party to confront them. On the deficits and debt, both men refuse to address entitlements even though they represent two thirds of federal spending. Donald Trump calls global warming a hoax and President Biden offers feel-good solutions that will make no difference to the global climate.”

“On China, President Biden underinvests in the military and President Trump underinvests in our alliances,” Romney continued. “Political motivations too often impede the solutions that these challenges demand. The next generation of leaders must take America to the next stage of global leadership.”

“While I’m not running for re-election, I’m not retiring from the fight.” he said. “I’ll be your United States Senator until January of 2025. I will keep working on these and other issues and I will advance our state’s numerous priorities. I look forward to working with you and with folks across our state and nation in that endeavor.”

Almost from the start, Romney had a tumultuous relationship with the Republican Party’s conservative base. Fueled in part by his resistance to same-sex “marriage” and a conversion from “pro-choice” to pro-life, but stymied by doubts as to the sincerity of that conversion and his support of a state healthcare plan many conservatives saw as too similar to socialized medicine, Romney eventually became seen in 2008 as the most conservative viable option for president, but did not unify enough voters to prevent the late Sen. John McCain from securing the 2008 nomination.

McCain lost to former President Barack Obama, and four years later Romney returned to win the presidential nod, but also lost to Obama. He stayed largely on the sidelines for the next four years, but in March 2016 singled out then-candidate Donald Trump as a “fraud,” further solidifying the distance between himself and disaffected GOP voters.

Two years later, Romney ran for Senate in Utah over objections that he lacked sufficient ties to the state, a bid that received the “full support and endorsement” of then-President Trump. While in the Senate, Romney sided with establishmentarians against conservatives on multiple questions, including voting to remove Trump from office in his first impeachment, supporting a Democrat bill to codify same-sex “marriage,” confirming Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, and blocking the reinstatement of soldiers ousted for resisting COVID-19 shot mandates.

Ultimately, during Romney’s time in the Senate, his voting record received a failing Liberty Score of 52% from Conservative Review, and a lifetime score of 58% from the conservative Heritage Action.

Romney’s Senate seat is considered safe to remain in GOP hands, although it remains to be seen what kind of Republican will replace him.