One of the longest serving Republicans on Capitol Hill, Senator Orrin Hatch announced that he is retiring from the Senate.
This opens the door for Mitt Romney to run for his seat, as well as a few others. The former Governor of Mass, Mitt Romney has been a very vocal critic of Mr. Trump.
Romney is popular, and now lives in Utah, but at age 70, he’s hardly a long-term replacement for Hatch, and he will have high-profile competition.
Other names have surfaces such as Mia Love and Boyd Matheson. Failed independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who has turned into a leading “never Trump” voice is also expected to throw his hat in the ring
Hatch exits amid an exodus of Republicans from both chambers of Congress. Some are warning of a political typhoon in November.
According to sources close to the GOP in Utah, it was his wife Elaine who finally convinced the 83-year old to retire back to his home state.
Mr. Romney’s potential ascent is particularly alarming to the White House because the former presidential candidate has an extensive political network and could use the Senate seat as a platform to again seek the nomination. Even if he were not to run again for president, a Senator Romney could prove a pivotal swing vote, impervious to the entreaties of a president he has scorned and able to rally other Trump skeptics in the chamber.
Mr. Hatch was under heavy pressure from Mr. Trump to seek re-election and block Mr. Romney. Last month, Mr. Trump flew with Mr. Hatch, who has emerged as one of the president’s most avid loyalists in the Senate, on Air Force One to Utah for a day of events that was aimed entirely at lobbying the senator to run again.
That clears the way for the political resurrection of Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee who is now a Utah resident and is popular in the Mormon-heavy state, where he ran the 2002 Winter Olympics. Mr. Romney has told associates he would likely run if Mr. Hatch retires.
Mr. Zwick did not confirm Mr. Romney would enter the race, but said that “of all the people who can run, Mitt will represent and honor the legacy of Senator Hatch more than anybody.”
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