Orrin Hatch, who has served as the senior senator from Utah for over forty years, has announced he will not seek re-election this year. His retirement clears the way for former Gov. Mitt Romney to run for the seat.
Hatch, the Senate Finance Committee Chair, has been one of the Senate’s leading conservative voices over the years and a strong supporter of President Trump’s legislative agenda. Over the past year, President Trump lobbied Hatch to run for re-election, but Hatch was ready to reenter private life.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has indicated that he may be interested in running for the Senate in his home state, after losing the presidential election to Barack Obama in 2012.
“After much prayer and discussion with family and friends, I have decided to retire at the end of this term,” Hatch announced in a video on Twitter Tuesday. “I’m deeply grateful for the privilege you’ve given me to serve as your senator for these last four decades.”
“I want to thank you all for your support through these many years. May God bless you all,” Hatch said.
Hatch promised in 2012 that if he won reelection, it would be his last term in the Senate. Hatch is the longest serving Republican in Senate history.
“I was a leader of the Sagebrush Rebellion that started during my first term in the Senate,” Hatch said in 2012. “The state has made it clear that they expect the land to be conveyed by the end of 2014. I want to see the transfer of land happen, and the end of the need for a Sagebrush Rebellion, during my last term in the Senate.”
Hatch was the victim last week of a Utah-based newspaper editorial that called him a lying, power-grabbing senator with an “utter lack of integrity.”
The Salt Lake City Tribune editorial board ran an opinion piece Christmas Day detailing why Hatch is the Utahn of the year for 2017.
Here is Sen. Hatch’s tweet, featuring video of his announcement.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 2, 2018
I join the people of Utah in thanking my friend, Senator Orrin Hatch for his more than forty years of service to our great state and nation. As Chairman of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and as the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history, Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor. Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors.