Hatch: I ‘fully intend’ to run for reelection

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the most senior GOP senator, said on Monday that he is currently planning on running for an eighth Senate term. 

“I fully intend to run again, but I’m going to take time and think it over and make up my mind on that, but right now, yes, I’m going to run,” Hatch told KUTV, a Utah TV station, asked about his future political plans. 

Hatch, who is up for reelection in 2018, previously said ahead of the 2012 elections that he would retire next year. Asked why he changed his mind, Hatch pointed to President Trump’s White House win. 

“I’m right in the middle of everything there. He is all over me to run again. My leadership in the Republican Senate are all over me to run again,” he said. “I know I’m in a position where I can help, where I can help Donald Trump like nobody else can.”

{mosads}Hatch, who will be 84 on Election Day, currently chairs the Finance Committee, giving him large sway over tax reform — a top priority of the GOP-controlled Congress and the Trump administration. 

He told National Journal earlier this year that he had spoken with former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romey about a possible run. He stressed on Monday that Romney won’t run if he does. 

“I did chat with him just to sort of feel out the situation to see if it was possible to have somebody of his dimension if I decide I can’t run,” he said. “I think our folks in Utah would be very happy if that happened if I can’t do it any further.” 

He added that he was preparing in case he or his wife get sick “or something like that.” 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters last week that he had talked to Romney about a potential Senate bid, but everything depends on if Hatch runs for reelection. 

“I’ve had some conversations with Mitt Romney. Obviously, I’m an Orrin Hatch supporter. Orrin has to decide what he wants to do,” he said. 

Former Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullen opened the door last month to mounting a 2018 challenge against Hatch or Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

Hatch said on Monday that he could make a final decision by the end of the year. 

Tags Donald Trump Jason Chaffetz Mitch McConnell Orrin Hatch

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