U.S. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said on Tuesday he will not seek re-election in November, opening the door to a potential Senate bid by Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate and who has been one of the party's harshest critics of President Donald Trump.
The announcement will likely reignite speculation that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will seek the seat.
When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter. Last month, Hatch reveled in the spotlight as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee while shepherding a massive tax bill through the Senate - attention, friends and colleagues said, that made him lean toward running again.
Romney, the former governor of MA and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has signaled he would run for the seat if Hatch were to retire. "And for me, that time is soon approaching", Hatch said in a video statement posted on Twitter. On a trip to Utah in December, Trump called him a "true fighter" and said he hoped Hatch would stay in the Senate "for a very long time to come".
Hatch steps down amid speculation that Romney, the former MA governor who ran against Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012, would run for his Senate seat.
"It would be hard to defeat Mitt Romney if he were running here", said David Hansen, a longtime Utah Republican strategist and chairman of Mr. Hatch's political organization.
The editorial criticized Hatch for "his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power". The closest analogy would be former Sen.
That is in part because Mr. Hatch had privately told Mr. Romney he was not sure he was ready to leave a seat he has held since 1977 and White House officials did all they could to nudge him into another campaign. He also is president pro tempore of the Senate, which is in the presidential line of succession.