If Orrin Hatch retires, Trump may have to deal with Senator Mitt Romney.
If the idea of Senator Mitt Romney seems crazy to you, then you apparently don’t understand the crazy nature of Utah Republican politics. The Salt Lake Tribune recently called Romney a “savior for Republicans” and encouraged him to run to replace Hatch in the Senate. It looks like he would win. It is doubtful Steve Bannon could stop him.
And Senator Mitt Romney would be no friend to President Trump!
The Atlantic reports, “Orrin Hatch Tells Friends He Plans to Retire.”
Even as Romney has remained coy about the prospect of a Senate bid in public, the growing likelihood that he will run has become an open secret in Utah political circles. At a recent gathering of state dignitaries, a prominent GOP donor was heard referring to Romney—in his presence—as “the senator.”
The consensus among political insiders in the state is that Romney will win easily if he runs. And several potential candidates have already signaled that they will not compete for the seat, given Romney’s apparent interest.
People close to Romney say his desire to serve in the Senate now—at a time of tremendous political upheaval and widespread GOP infighting—is multi-faceted. He has told friends that he is alarmed at what he regards as the recklessness and incompetence of the Trump presidency so far, and that he’s worried about what long-term effects Trumpism could have on the Republican Party. Friends also say he is restless and eager to get off the sidelines, and that after years of losing campaigns, the prospect of an all-but-guaranteed electoral victory is extremely tempting.
It’s unclear what a Senator Romney would look like once in Washington. Some people who know him say he might consider muting his criticism of Trump—at least at first—and use his status as an elder statesman in the GOP to rally congressional Republicans around conservative legislative initiatives. Others, meanwhile, believe he would help fill the role being vacated by Jeff Flake and Bob Corker—two outgoing Republican senators who have been outspoken in their criticism of Trump.
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