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- Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah on Tuesday announced plans to retire in 2018.
- His departure could prompt the former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for his seat.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah announced Tuesday that he would retire at the end of his term this year, ending long speculation of whether he would seek reelection after more than three decades in office.
Hatch, 83, made the announcement in a short video, saying “every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”
“I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter in my public service is just beginning,” Hatch added.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 2, 2018
President Donald Trump had urged Hatch to run again, a move that would have prevented the former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from potentially filling his seat.
Trump appeared alongside Hatch at a Utah rally to push Republicans’ tax overhaul, calling on the high-ranking Republican to keep serving in the Senate.
“You meet fighters and you meet people that you thought were fighters but they’re not so good at fighting,” Trump said. “He’s a fighter. We hope you will continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come.”
Romney issued a statement shortly after Hatch’s announcement, writing on Facebook, “I join the people of Utah in thanking my friend, Senator Orrin Hatch for his more than forty years of service to our great state and nation.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and as the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history, Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor,” Romney added. “Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors.”