Hatch to retire from US Senate, opening way for Romney

Chairman of finance committee is longest-serving Republican senator

Republican senator Orrin Hatch with US president Donald J Trump  Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Republican senator Orrin Hatch with US president Donald J Trump Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

 

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the longest-serving Republican senator in US history and a leader of the effort to rewrite the US tax code at the end of last year, has said he will not seek an eighth term in 2018.

Mr Hatch (83) is a steadfast conservative who is chairman of the senate finance committee, which oversees tax policy.

“Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves, and for me that time is soon approaching,” Mr Hatch said in a video posted on Twitter. “I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term.”

The decision may open the way to a senate bid by Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and two-time Republican presidential contender. Mr Romney, who was passed over by president Donald Trump for secretary of state, now lives in Utah and has been making the rounds at political events in the state, but has not publicly said whether he will run.

Mr Romney (70) is viewed as a Republican elder statesman who could challenge Mr Trump, whom he has called a “fraud”. – Bloomberg