Sen. Orrin Hatch Announces Retirement, Possibly Clearing Way for Mitt Romney

03 January, 2018, 01:55 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan R-Wis. left accompanied by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch R-Utah signs the final version of the GOP tax bill during an enrollment ceremony at the

Hatch said in a video address Tuesday that although he had been proud to fight on behalf of his fellow Utahns, "Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves, and for me, that time is soon approaching".

Hatch's retirement opens the door for Republican Mitt Romney to run for his seat, as has been rumoured in recent weeks.

Many have speculated that former presidential candidate Mitt Romney may be interested in running for this Senate seat.

Shortly after Hatch's announcement, Romney posted a statement on his Facebook page congratulating Hatch for his more than 40 years of service in the Senate. He chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee and was a major force in getting a tax overhaul through Congress and signed into law in December.

"I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter in my public service is just beginning", Hatch said.

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Bachmann, a former Tea Party star, would likely run a campaign more in line with Trump's branding: In a recent interview with Jim Bakker, she predicted that "the swamp" would push back against her candidacy, an allusion to Trump's anti-Washington tagline, "drain the swamp". The dispute occurred as Republicans pushed a near $1.5 trillion, 10-year tax cut for businesses and individuals through the Senate Finance Committee over Democrats' objections.

He also has drawn the ire of Trump's former White House adviser, Steve Bannon, who recently derided Romney as a draft dodger who "hid behind" his Mormon religion to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.

Hatch is now in his seventh term - first elected in 1976 - and is the Senate president pro tempore.

During the tumultuous special election for Senate in Alabama, Romney also took sides against Trump and his endorsement of the highly controversial Roy Moore.

Other conservatives in the state have been trying to recruit another conservative challenger to contest Romney from the right, but no candidates have yet come forward.

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Mr. Romney was unaware of Mr. Hatch's decision and of late had been operating under the assumption that the senator would run again, not even bringing up the possibility of a campaign while skiing Monday with friends in Utah.

Brown, a liberal firebrand, said people know Republicans want to help the rich because it's "in their DNA". Trump had encouraged Hatch to run for re-election.

In 2000, Hatch dabbled in presidential politics himself.

Hatch frequently wrote religious songs and recorded music in his spare time as a way to relax from the stresses of life in Washington.

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