The Tribune recently reported that as McMullin weighs his political future, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Senate’s longest-serving Republican, is considering seeking an eighth term.
During Hatch’s 2012 campaign, he said that his current term would be his last; however, he told Roll Call on Wednesday that “circumstances have greatly changed” following the 2016 election, since Republicans will control the White House, the House and the Senate.
In remarks to the Tribune, McMullin didn’t rule out challenging Hatch for his seat. "He's a nice man and has served our country for decades," he said. "I haven't decided if I'll run for Senate or another office in 2018. I'll make that decision based on what is best for the future of Utah and our nation."
McMullin noted that he recently had a "friendly discussion” with Hatch “about a variety of challenges facing the country." And Hatch's office told the Tribune that the senator had met with McMullin, among others, to discuss the implementation of a conservative agenda following the election.
"Working together is especially important as Republicans will soon control the House, the Senate and the presidency, and must take advantage of a unique opportunity to make meaningful progress for the American people," a spokesperson for Hatch's office said.
According to the Tribune, Hatch said McMullin is "a very decent guy, as far as I'm concerned,” and “I think he has a future."
Asked what he thought about a potential challenge from McMullin for his seat, Hatch joked, "That'd be his right, but that'd be a big mistake."
McMullin, a Utah native, launched an independent bid for president earlier this year to provide an alternative for conservatives dissatisfied with President-elect Donald Trump’s candidacy. He garnered approximately 21 percent of the vote in Utah, the highest percentage a third-party candidate received in any state in 2016.