Longest serving GOP Senator Orin Hatch announced on Tuesday that he will be finishing out his term and then retiring.
He stated in a Twitter video that “every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching.”
“That’s why, after much prayer and discussion with my family and friends, I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term,” Hatch added.
“Although I will miss serving you in the Senate, I look forward to spending more time with my family, especially my sweet wife Elaine, whose unwavering love and support made all of this possible,” he continued.
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Hatch also said that he is “deeply grateful for the privilege you’ve given me to serve as your senator these last four decades.”
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 2, 2018
Hatch has not yet named a successor, but the rumors are already swirling that Republican Mitt Romney will be replacing him.
Romney congratulated Hatch on Facebook. He said, “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,” Romney wrote on Facebook.
“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 continued.
Members of the Republican party and, perhaps most notably, President Donald Trump had been pressuring Hatch to call it quits, even though Hatch enjoys a sky-high 83% approval rating in his home state, and has nearly $5 million in his campaign coffers.
According to sources close to the GOP in Utah, it was his wife Elaine who finally convinced the 83-year old to retire back to his home state.
Romney is popular, and now lives in Utah, but at age 70, he’s hardly a long-term replacement for Hatch, and he will have high-profile competition. Failed independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who has turned into a leading “never Trump” voice (even to the point of entertaining rumors of Trump’s associations with Russia), is also expected to throw his hat in the ring, though on Wednesday, he voiced his support for Romney.
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