If incumbent Utah Senator Orrin Hatch retires, there might be a highly visible Republican candidate waiting in the wings. Cue failed presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Hatch has not yet decided if he will retire, contradicting a recent article in The Atlantic, which claims he will retire once his term ends in 2018.
“I’m planning on running again,” Senator Hatch told KUTV in Salt Lake City. “I’ve made a decision to run, unless my friend Mitt Romney calls me and says he’d like to run. Then I think I’d gladly step aside.”
Hatch’s spokesman Dave Hansen also dismissed The Atlantic report, which posited: “Senator Orrin Hatch has privately told allies in Utah that he is planning to retire at the end of his term next year, and if he does, Mitt Romney intends to run for his seat.”
But Hansen denied Hatch has made a final decision. “Nothing has changed since The Atlantic published a carbon copy of this same story in April, likely with the same anonymous sources who were no more informed on the Senator’s thinking than they seem to be now,” Hansen said.
At 83, Orrin Hatch is one of the oldest members of the United States Senate. The oldest is Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who’s 84. Feinstein recently confirmed she plans to run for re-election.
Hatch’s seventh term ends in 2018. Despite his denials, retirement at his age wouldn’t be a surprise.
Meanwhile, it’s unclear why Mitt Romney would want to be a senator. Romney, a 70-year-old multi-millionaire, is a former Massachusetts governor who was the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee.
In November 2016, the press went wild amid reports that then President-elect Donald Trump was considering Romney as Secretary of State. The news raised eyebrows because Romney did everything he could to ensure Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton.
At the time, Romney said he felt optimistic about the future of the United States with Trump as president.
“I happen to think America’s best days are ahead of us and I think you’re going to continue to see America lead the world in this century,” Romney said. “And what I’ve seen through these discussions I’ve had with president-elect Trump…give me increasing hope that president-elect Trump is the very man that can lead us to that future.”
Romney’s sycophantic praise was a shocking about-face from March 2016, when he held two press conferences to trash Trump as a “fraud, a phony, and a con man.”
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