Romney needed at least 60 percent of the votes from delegates at the Utah GOP convention ON Saturday to head to the November election unopposed, but he earned only 49.12 percent, CNN and other media reported.
Kennedy also seemed pleased with the results, telling the station: 'I'm a candidate with a compelling life story and a unique set of life circumstances I'd like to use to serve the people of Utah'.
Romney blamed his second-place finish - out of a dozen Republicans seeking the seat of retiring seven-term Sen.
Hatch, 83, the longest-serving Republican within the Senate, introduced his retirement plans a number of months in the past, regardless of efforts by President Trump to persuade him to remain in Washington.
"Thank you to all the delegates who hung in there with us all day at the Convention", Romney tweeted later Saturday.
Democrats will select their nominee for U.S. Senate on April 28.
"Gathering signatures to make the ballot is unpopular among many conservative delegates in the state who say it dilutes their ability to choose a candidate".
The convention, lasting more than eight hours, was dominated by infighting and technical issues.
Kathua: Students' protests, clashes in Ajas Bandipora
Following the protests, all the educational institutions and business establishments were closed in the Anantnag town for the day. The protestors accused the police of using force at some places to quell protests, a charge denied by the police.
Romney pushed back against critics who said he's an interloper in Utah politics by referring to his role in staging the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah. "I'm exhausted of business as usual in Washington, D.C. If you want things to change, you need to vote for change".
A former MA governor, he ran for president in both 2008 and 2012.
After two rounds of voting, Romney was forced into a primary with Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine.
Despite the outcome, Romney said he was glad he gathered the signatures, adding it "was right for me".
The state lawmaker certainly was the underdog by the traditional measure of name recognition and campaign funding.
Romney moved to Utah after losing the election to President Barack Obama, though he openly slammed Trump as a "con man" and a "fraud" during the 2016 race.
Trump, however, had endorsed Romney for Senate in February, despite a history of rivalry between them.
Romney has also criticized Trump's response to Charlottesville, saying the president's comments at the time caused "racists to rejoice".