Republican Senator Hatch to retire, opening door for bid by Romney
January 3, 2018 | 2:43 PM
by Times TV

Washington DC: U.S. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said on Tuesday he will not seek re-election in November, opening the door to a potential Senate bid by Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate and one of the party's harshest critics of President Donald Trump.

The Senate's longest-serving member, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, said on Tuesday he won't run for re-election -- clearing the way for a possible Senate bid by Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential nominee who has since emerged as a staunch critic of President Donald Trump.

Hatch, at 83, is announcing his retirement on a high note - having played a leading role in the massive tax cut package that President Trump signed into law last month. A Senate fixture since 1977, Hatch is the latest Republican lawmaker to announce his retirement ahead of what could be a difficult election for the GOP in November as it tries to hold on to control of Congress.

The election could also cause a headache for President Trump - Romney, who's seen as a leading contender for the seat, called Trump a phony and a fraud during the campaign and has gone after Trump as president for his handling of the Charlottesville neo-Nazi march and for pulling out of the Paris Climate agreement.

In a statement, Romney praised Hatch for his service but did not say whether he would enter the race.

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