Former Massachusetts Governor and two-time presidential Republican candidate Mitt Romney is considering a Senate run in Utah, should incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch choose to retire.
Sources close to Romney told Utah Policy that the 2012 GOP presidential candidate is preparing to run in the 2018 mid-term election if Hatch decides to retire from his senate.
Hatch has not yet decided whether he will run for an eighth term, a delay that has prevented other possible nominees from deciding whether to enter the primary. So far, only attorney Chris Forbush has declared his intention to run, but several names have been floated to possibly replace Hatch, including Rep. Chris Stewart, Rep. Mia Love, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., himself a former GOP candidate. Independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin is also rumored to be interested in the slot.
Hatch said previously that if an “outstanding person” stepped into the race, he would step aside. A spokesman for Hatch has said earlier in the summer that the Senator will not make a decision about his retirement until at least October; inside sources say that decision could come as late as December.
Mitt Romney said in February about a possible 2018 Senate run, “I don’t have any predictions on what I might do. I’m not going to open a door and I’m not going to close a door. All doors are open.” He continued, “I’m not looking forward to anything political at the national level. We’ve got some races coming up here in Utah that are going to be interesting. We’ll see what happens on that front.”
According to a Utah Policy Poll, if Romney decided to enter the race, he pulls 64% of the vote to Salt Lake County Councilwoman and Democrat Party front-runner Jenny Wilson's 26%.