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November 10, 2017
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney seems very serious about running for Senate in 2018, so long as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) retires, Politico reported Friday. Rumors of Hatch's retirement began swirling earlier this year when the 83-year-old said in an interview with National Journal that he would be willing to step down "if I could get a really outstanding person" to replace him. "Mitt Romney would be perfect," Hatch said.

Still, Hatch has not yet made a public decision about his future, and a person close to the senator told Politico that Hatch and Romney have not spoken in months.

That doesn't seem to be stopping Romney, who has reportedly talked to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) about a hypothetical campaign, and told prominent Republican donor Frank VanderSloot that he was seriously thinking about running. John Miller, the national campaign finance chairman for Romney's 2012 presidential bid, told Politico, "I think he's giving it some serious consideration."

And what would candidate Romney be like?

People close to Romney envision him running as a senior statesman-like figure — one who won't reflexively oppose the administration but is willing to air his differences with Trump. [Politico]

Romney's desire to get back into national politics shouldn't be all that surprising, considering that he thought about running for president again in 2016. Politico reports that Romney has been raising money for congressional Republicans, and endorsing and campaigning for several candidates at both the local and state level in Utah. Mitt 2018, here we come ... Kelly O'Meara Morales