- REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts, is reportedly planning a Senate run in Utah should Orrin Hatch retire in 2018.
Utah Policy reported Monday morning that Romney is planning a bid and has the financial means and high approval rating to be successful. Hatch, also a Republican, has served seven terms in the Senate.
Romney, a longtime critic of President Donald Trump, has considerably high favorability in Utah. In a February poll, Utah voters gave Romney an overall approval rating of 71% to just 25% disapproving.
And Hatch has previously flirted with the idea of retirement. He told the National Journal in March that he would step down under the right circumstances.
“If I could get a really outstanding person to run for my position, I might very well consider [retiring],” he said.
Also looking to mount a potential Senate run is current Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, who told the Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial board in August that he would jump in if Hatch retires. However, Stewart added that he “absolutely” hopes Hatch seeks an eighth term.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney was known for his public rebukes of Trump.
“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” he said at one point. “He’s playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.”
However, when Trump went on to become president, he briefly considered Romney for a cabinet position, which never came to fruition.
Now Romney might be seeking a different office.