Sen. Orrin Hatch Announces Retirement, Possibly Clearing Way for Mitt Romney

Hannah Rogers
January 3, 2018

"I've always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington", Hatch said. "I will never forget the (beyond kind) statements he has made about me as President", he added.

Romney has until March 15 to file for Hatch's seat.

Amid earlier speculation about Hatch's plans, the Utah senator stepped up to defend Romney, a fellow Mormon. He chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee and was a major force in getting a tax overhaul through Congress and signed into law in December.

Romney maintains residence in Utah and was the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee before going on to serve as governor of MA and challenge Barack Obama as the Republican nominee in the 2012 presidential election.

In the statement announcing his decision not to run again, Hatch cited work with the disadvantaged among his accomplishments, including helping create the Americans with Disabilities Act, expanding children's health insurance and expanding use of generic drugs.

Hatch also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was at the centre of numerous biggest confirmation battles. His senior campaign team will include Matt Waldrip, who had been running Mr. Romney's annual policy retreats, a longtime fund-raiser, Spencer Zwick, and his former chief of staff, Beth Myers. Romney, who at times has been a Trump critic, would enter the race as the front runner, given his own popularity in the state. "Hatch more than anybody".

As for fidelity to Mr. Trump, Mr. Zwick was more restrained.

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"When there are things he agrees with him on, hell be a big supporter, and when there are things he disagrees with, hell voice that", he said.

The race to succeed Hatch in Utah could represent an irresistible challenge for Bannon, especially if Mitt Romney runs. Senator Hatch may run for reelection.

An announcement from Senator Orrin G. Hatch.

"We are going to make this the greatest presidency we have seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever", Hatch said.

But Romney has also continued to criticize the President. The two had a warm and animated conversation at a table at Jean Georges at Trump's NY hotel in November 2016 and met at Trump's golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., what he thought of the former Republican nominee. But one week after a local newspaper called on him to retire, and despite the president's urging him not to, Hatch announced he intends to do just that. On Christmas Day, The Salt Lake Tribune named the senator "Utahn of the Year", but not for flattering reasons.

"It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career", the editorial board wrote.

A spokeswoman for Romney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Hatch's retirement announcement, and it is unclear if he is interested in succeeding the elder statesman in the upper chamber.

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