Orrin Hatch Retirement Opens Door For Trump Critic Mitt Romney In Senate

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As I have noted before, Romney and Breitbart News were very friendly in 2012, when the former MA governor was the GOP presidential nominee.

The former MA governor called Mr Trump "a fraud" during last year's White House campaign.

Just imagine what Bannon might say if Romney actually becomes a candidate for office.

He was not a candidate for political office previous year when he pilloried Mr Trump. Romney, who at times has been a Trump critic, would enter the race as the front runner, given his own popularity in the state.

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The former private equity manager kept a low profile after his unsuccessful White House bid.

Romney has until March 15 to file for Hatch's seat. Romney, a Mormon, has strong ties in the state, helping lead the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Mr. Romney repeatedly assailed the president during the 2016 campaign, calling Mr. Trump "a fraud", and Mr. Trump returned the favor, stating that Mr. Romney "choked like a dog" in the 2012 race. Will he speak out against the president, as he once did?

Hatch, 83, has served in the Senate since 1977 and is now the longest serving Republican in the Senate.

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Mr Romney has been quiet about his plans and views of late.

But he maintained his connection to the Republican party.

Shortly after Hatch's announcement, Romney posted a statement on his Facebook page congratulating Hatch for his more than 40 years of service in the Senate.

During an event last month at the Utah Capitol where Trump celebrated the administration's decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, Trump called Hatch "a true fighter" and said he hoped the Republican would continue to serve "in the Senate for a very long time to come". After cycling through his accomplishments and the praise he has received from President Trump, Hatch called himself a "fighter", but also acknowledged "every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves". "Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors".

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Hatch, 83, was first elected in 1976 and had spent months publicly deliberating about whether to stand again for reelection in November.