Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Tuesday in a video message that he will retire at the end of his term this year, paving the way for a potential Senate run by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
What did Hatch say?
In a video shared on his social media accounts, Hatch said he will not seek re-election after serving for more than 40 years in the U.S. Senate.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 2, 2018
Hatch told his constituents that it was an “honor” to serve them in the Senate, but “every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”
“For me, that time is soon approaching,” he said, adding that he came to the conclusion after prayer and discussions with his family.
Hatch, 83, is the longest-serving Republican in the Senate.
What about Romney?
Romney is widely expected to run for the seat Hatch will vacate. Recent reports indicated Romney expressed an interest in running for the Senate in Utah only if Hatch were to retire.
The former Massachusetts governor is popular in Utah, where he owns a residence, due in part to his Mormon faith and his work on the 2002 Winter Olympics in Park City.
Romney has been critical of President Donald Trump, and the president and his allies reportedly lobbied Hatch to consider staying in the Senate.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Romney thanked Hatch for his service to Utah.
“Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor,” Romney wrote. “Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors.”