Longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch announces his retirement, leaving a door open for Mitt Romney

Longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch announces his retirement, leaving a door open for Mitt Romney

Orrin Hatch

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

  • Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah on Tuesday
    announced plans to retire in 2018.
  • His departure could prompt the former GOP presidential
    nominee Mitt Romney to run for his seat.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah announced Tuesday that he would retire
at the end of his term this year, ending long speculation of
whether he would seek reelection after more than three decades in

Hatch, 83, made the announcement in a short video, saying “every
good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”

“I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter in my public
service is just beginning,” Hatch added.

President Donald Trump
had urged
Hatch to run again, a move that would have
prevented the former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
from potentially filling his seat.

Trump appeared alongside Hatch at a Utah rally to push
Republicans’ tax overhaul, calling on the high-ranking Republican
to keep serving in the Senate.

“You meet fighters and you meet people that you thought were
fighters but they’re not so good at fighting,” Trump said. “He’s
a fighter. We hope you will continue to serve your state and your
country in the Senate for a very long time to come.”

Romney issued a statement
shortly after Hatch’s announcement, writing on Facebook, “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

“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,” Romney added. “Ann and I wish Senator
Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their
future endeavors.”

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