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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Senate candidate Mike Kennedy is defending a prominent Baptist minister who has come under fire from Mitt Romney and others for his past criticism of Mormonism, Islam and Judaism. 

Kennedy told the Deseret News and KSL editorial boards that it was “embarrassing” for Romney to call Pastor Robert Jeffress a “religious bigot.”

The Republican state lawmaker said he spoke with Jeffress on Friday and called him “a very decent fellow.”

Romney earlier this month said Jeffress’s past remarks should disqualify him from speaking at the new U.S. Embassy.

Romney and Kennedy will face off for the Republican Senate nomination in a primary June 26. Romney is considered the favorite but Kennedy has tried to align himself in ways with President Donald Trump, for whom the new embassy is a major foreign policy achievement.


Information from: Deseret News,