Tags: Mitt Romney | orrin hatch | utah | senate | 2018 | midterms

Romney, a National Figure, a Cinch to Succeed Sen. Hatch

Romney, a National Figure, a Cinch to Succeed Sen. Hatch
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, R-Utah (AP)

Tuesday, 02 January 2018 06:45 PM Current | Bio | Archive

What will be perhaps the least unexpected political development of 2018 occurred Tuesday, as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, announced he would not seek re-election this year.

Hatch, who will turn 84 on March 22, has served in the Senate since 1976 and, as the most senior of his 99 colleagues, is president pro tempore of the Senate and thus third in line to the presidency.

Just about as predictable as Hatch's exit is the likely entrance of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney into the race for the now-open seat. Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, a resident of Utah since his defeat by Barack Obama five years ago, is considered a cinch for nomination and election.

"I thought about the race, but I also realize that I could do better developing leadership for the future rather than being one of 100," Boyd Matheson, president of the conservative Sutherland Institute, told Newsmax, “Right now, we are in a situation where only a few individuals frame the conversation. That’s got to change if the conservative movement is to triumph.”

Matheson had been considered a favorite of many on the right — among them Breitbart chairman and Romney antagonist Steve Bannon — but he opted against a race.

A "Never Trump-er" in 2016 and frequent critic of the president since, Romney, 70, would have a unique niche within his party and in the Senate. Like Louisiana Gov. Huey Long, astronaut John Glenn, and San Francisco State University President S.I. Hayakawa when they entered the Senate, Romney would take office as an already-established national figure.

More than a few within the Republican Party see him as a rallying point for opposition to Trump on controversial issues — notably the president’s hard-line on illegal immigration and opposition to trade agreements such as NAFTA.

He would be first former presidential nominee of a major party to enter the Senate since Democrat Hubert Humphrey won a Senate seat from Minnesota in 1970, two years after he lost the presidency to Richard Nixon.

"Romney will arrive with a clear path to the national microphones and cameras and a solid background on national, although, perhaps, not Utahan issues, though he is a quick study," David Pietrusza, author of five acclaimed books on presidential election years, told Newsmax. "He is, however, a very old rookie in a seniority-based game. He will start at the bottom of committee assignments and never advance much beyond that."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a near cinch to succeed retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and he would enter the Senate as a national figure, Newsmax's John Gizzi reports.
orrin hatch, utah, senate, 2018, midterms
Tuesday, 02 January 2018 06:45 PM
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