Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch won't seek re-election, opening path for Mitt Romney

Orrin Hatch

Local media said U.S. President Donald Trump had lobbied Hatch to stay in the Senate in a bid to block Romney from running.

As Chairman of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and as the longest-serving Republican Senator in US history, Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor. Ive always been a fighter.

As chairman of Senate Finance Committee, Hatch played a key role in passing the tax bill that President Trump signed into law late last month.

Romney, who last served in government as the governor of MA from 2003 through 2007, has been rumored for months to be planning a run for the seat held by longtime Republican Sen. But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.

In a statement, Hatch said he chose to retire at the end of his seventh term after "much prayer and discussion with family and friends" over the holiday break.

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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.

A close Romney adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hatch's decision increased the odds that Romney would consider jumping in, saying that Romney would likely decide relatively soon whether to seek the Senate seat.

Hatch's announcement rejuvenated already lively talk of a possible Romney return to the political arena.

He joins a growing list of senators who've decided not to seek re-election next year. Sen.

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