The longest-serving GOP senator in history has made a huge announcement today. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has confirmed that he will retire at the end of his term. This paves the way for a candidate many will remember that is a hometown favorite in Utah, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Senator Hatch, 83, had previously stated that he would retire in January 2018. Then in recent weeks, he had shown some indications that he was considering running for an eighth term. The announcement was made in a video on Twitter.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 2, 2018
Hatch was the Senate Finance Committee chairman, a powerful position in Washington. He came to President Trump’s aid recently, helping to pass the GOP tax reform. He also played a significant role in the decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah.
The president has widely praised the senator and tweeted congratulations to the retiring man. President Trump may not be so excited about Hatch’s possible replacement and that attitude is shared by many.
Congratulations to Senator Orrin Hatch on an absolutely incredible career. He has been a tremendous supporter, and I will never forget the (beyond kind) statements he has made about me as President. He is my friend and he will be greatly missed in the U.S. Senate! pic.twitter.com/0VjzLEeHTl
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
Romney has said he would run only if Hatch retired. The Mormon has strong ties to Utah and his victory is thought to be guaranteed there if he does run. President Trump and some of his allies were reportedly encouraging Hatch to stay so Romney wouldn’t run.
During the 2016 election, the two clashed. Romney called then-candidate Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.” Recently, Romney was on the other side of the talks over failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. Romney condemned the man while President Trump endorsed him.
Romney has not officially announced a run but has until March 15 to file. A former aide Ryan Williams stated;
“I haven’t spoken directly to the governor about his intentions, but I do think he maintains a desire to serve the public. I think if an opportunity arose he would seriously consider it.”
Romney has a history of changing his mind and opinion depending on who he is campaigning to. He has flip-flopped between being pro-life and an advocate of abortion rights at least four times. He has even been caught wavering on his political affiliation;
Days before the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election he stated, “I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican — that I’m someone who is moderate and that my views are progressive…” During a campaign fight with Rick Santorum 10 years later he said that he was “severely conservative.”
So who would the Utah man be during his next run for president? It is an important question to ask. He may very well be on the ballot in Utah and voters there need to consider that carefully.
Source: The Hill