WASHINGTON – Former presidential nominee Mitt Romney is prepared to run for Senate in Utah if the state’s senior GOP senator Orrin G. Hatch decides to retire, Utah Policy reported Monday.
The report cited unnamed sources close to Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who said he is preparing a Senate run in case Hatch opts not to run again. Hatch had previously said this term would be his last, but he has since signaled he could run for an eighth time.
Romney currently lives in Utah. In 2012 he became the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be a major party’s presidential nominee.
Hatch’s adviser Dave Hansen said Hatch would likely make a decision by the end of the year on running again. Hansen ran Hatch’s 2006 and 2012 Senate campaigns.
“To be honest with you, the Senate has some very crucial and very critical decisions coming up in the next couple of months and that’s what the senator is focused on right now,” Hansen said in a brief interview Monday. “We’ve been operating under the premise that he’s running until he says he’s not.”
Hatch is the most senior GOP senator and is the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Hatch has said in the past that he would hope someone like Romney would run for his seat were he to retire. Hatch has also said that Romney would not challenge him for the seat if he runs for another term.
Salt Lake County councilmember Jenny Wilson is running on the Democratic side. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Utah Senate race as Solid Republican.
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