Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) has apparently told his close allies that he is planning to retire at the end of his term in 2018, The Atlantic reports, setting up former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for the 83-year-old senator's seat.
Rumors of Hatch's possible retirement and Romney's potential run have been swirling for months, with Hatch's spokesperson telling The Atlantic after this most recent report that "nothing has changed since The Atlantic published a carbon copy of this same story in April, likely with the same anonymous sources who were no more informed on the senator's thinking than they seem to be now."
Still, five people familiar with Hatch's thinking confirmed to The Atlantic that the senator is talking about retirement. Utah's World Trade Center CEO Derek Miller, who was considering a run himself, said that Romney's plan has been "reported to me as a 'done deal.'" And in September, UtahPolicy.com wrote that Romney "has the financial resources to mount a campaign no matter when Hatch decides."
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In an October poll, The Salt Lake Tribune found that 75 percent of voters said Hatch should not run for an eighth term, while a plurality favored Romney as his replacement.
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