Hatch: I may retire if Romney runs to replace me

Hatch: I may retire if Romney runs to replace me
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer Trump gambles in push for drug import proposal Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify MORE (R-Utah) says he would consider retiring if Mitt Romney ran to replace him.

Hatch told National Journal in a Wednesday interview that he hasn't made a decision yet on whether he will run for reelection in 2018.

"I know I made a comment that I'll likely run for reelection. I haven't made that final determination," he said.

"There are a bunch of reasons to do it, a bunch of reasons not to do it."

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He mentioned his "wonderful wife," saying she "put up with me going 18 hours a day back here and then out there in Utah." He also noted he had established the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, which he has to work on.

"So these are things that are pulling at me," he said. "If I could get a really outstanding person to run for my position, I might very well consider it."

Hatch pointed to Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and a former governor of Massachusetts, when asked if he had anyone in mind to replace him.

"I've expressed interest to him," he responded. "I can see why he might not want to do it, but I can also see why if he did it, it would be a great thing for America."

Hatch said in 2012 that his reelection that year would be his final campaign. But he indicated earlier this month he had changed his plans.

"I'm planning on [running] right now," he said during an interview on CNN. "That's what my current plans are."

He said both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Jon Stewart slams McConnell over 9/11 victim fund MORE (R-Ky.) had been encouraging him to run.

In a later statement, the Utah Republican's office clarified that Hatch had not made a final decision about his plans for 2018.

Hatch, 83, was first elected to the Senate in 1976.