Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican Senator, to retire

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to retire; Romney could run

"But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves." said Hatch in the video. "Although I will miss serving you in the Senate, I look forward to spending more time with family, especially my sweet wife, Elaine, whose unwavering love and support made all of this possible".

If he ran, Romney would enter the Senate race as the heavy favorite, having carried Utah in 2012 by a margin of almost 3-to-1 over Democrat Barack Obama.

Romney maintains residence in Utah and was the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee before going on to serve as governor of MA and challenge Barack Obama as the Republican nominee in the 2012 presidential election. He's the longest-serving Republican senator in USA history.

The powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman played a significant role in helping Republicans pass a major tax overhaul before Christmas.

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Hatch said, "I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter in my public service is just beginning". Asked if he thought Romney would be interested in coming to Washington during the Trump era, Trump replied, "I don't know".

Amid earlier speculation about Hatch's plans, the Utah senator stepped up to defend Romney, a fellow Mormon.

The 83-year-old has been publicly weighing whether or not to step down.


Hatch, 83, is the longest-serving GOP Senator in US history, having first been elected in 1977.

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Hatch's announcement comes the same day Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, announced he also would bow out at the end of his term this year.

The senator returned the favor at the White House when Mr. Trump signed the tax measure, calling him "one heck of a leader".

In his announcement, Hatch mentioned Trump, who urged him to run for reelection in December. Sherrod Brown of OH after Brown said Republican tax cuts were aimed at helping the rich.

Hatch told Brown he'd heard enough, adding that he's helped disadvantaged people "my whole stinking career". During his time on the committee, the Senate has confirmed almost 1,900 federal judges.

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In 2000, Hatch dabbled in presidential politics himself. He withdrew after only winning 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. One of his songs, "Unspoken", went platinum after appearing on "WOW Hits 2005", a compilation of Christian pop music.

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