Mitt Romney May Be Gearing Up For A Senate Run Amid Reports Of A Retiring Orrin Hatch

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Next year’s mid-term elections should present a rip-roaring battle for the Senate majority currently held by the GOP with 52 seats. To complicate matters, two senators (Tennessee’s Bob Corker and Arizona’s Jeff Flake) have vocally thrown in their Republican towels while breaking with President Trump. And it seems that another Republican is also on the way out, although he may simply be choosing to retire in a conventional sense. That would be Utah’s Orrin Hatch, age 83, who’s been a Senate mainstay since 1977.

Hatch has reportedly been making noises about leaving while Mitt Romney is said to be considering a bid (probably an easy win, too) for Hatch’s seat. All of this speculation arrives courtesy of The Atlantic, which says that Hatch has been “privately” telling people of his plans, and those folks are talking:

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, according to five sources familiar with the situation.

The story makes perfect sense, given the former Massachusetts governor and Republican nominee’s apparent availability — after being given the runaround by President Trump for the secretary of state gig — with Hatch well past the point of preferred retirement life. Still, a Romney spokesperson refused to comment to The Atlantic while Hatch’s representative sort-of denied the report and dismissed “anonymous sources.” The Hatch rep said that his boss hasn’t made any plans on whether he’ll seek reelection and would prefer to keep the discussion centered upon tax reform, etc.

This could simply be a case of Romney sources jumping the gun, but it could be true. And if so, Steve Bannon is probably dialing up a far-right friend in Utah to take on Romney’s establishment vibe. However, Romney fared so well with Utah during the 2012 election that Bannon’s efforts would be entirely wasted in the state.

(Via The Atlantic)