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Washington • Utah has always claimed Mitt Romney, and now Romney is making it official.
The former presidential candidate and his wife, Ann, decided "on a lark" to make their permanent home in Holladay after selling their town house in Belmont, Mass., according to a New York Times report.
The Romneys had been living in the town home but have since sold that residence and may consider putting their La Jolla home up for sale as well, the newspaper reported. Plans for remodeling that California home including a car elevator became political fodder in his presidential bid.
Since his 2012 loss, Mitt Romney has been building a home, with 5,900 square feet of living space, in Holladay adjacent to son Josh Romney. It's the second home for the Romneys, who also bought a mansion in Deer Valley for $8.9 million last year.
"Mitt will always be Utah's favorite son, and we'd love to have as much of him as we can get," said Kirk Jowers, a Romney friend and director of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics.
Jowers notes that Utah gave Romney his largest margin of support over President Barack Obama in 2012 and is fondly remembered for his help in turning around the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
"One thing the presidential race showed is the more people truly got to know him, they loved him," Jowers said, "and Utah was Exhibit A for that."
Romney has said multiple times that he's not planning on a third presidential bid, though he told the Hugh Hewitt radio show that "circumstances can change."
That excites James Evans, Utah Republican Party chairman, who said it would be great to have Utah as Romney's home state.
"It certainly would be historic for the 45th president to be from Utah," Evans said. "It underscores the metrics of Utah being one of the best states to live in."
The Romneys have not yet registered to vote in Utah, according to the Salt Lake County clerk's office. Evans said the Utah GOP will be happy to help with that.
"We'll most certainly drop by his voter-registration form," he said.
The Times noted an unusual problem the Romneys face in relocating: the piles and piles of political memorabilia from his two presidential runs and time as governor.
Romney had crammed them into the garage at his lake house in Wolfeboro, N.H., but feared the snowy winters could ruin them.
So, the Times reported, Romney paid a guy named Poppy to drive them across country.