The GOP’s longest-serving senator announced his retirement today. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), in a social media message, said that “after much prayer and discussion with family and friends I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term.” He cited his time as an amateur boxer when he was younger and said, “every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.” Hatch was up for reelection next year.
His retirement opens up a path for Mitt Romney to take his place in the Senate. Hatch has said that he hoped Romney would one day take his place. Romney has been a frequent critic of President Trump’s. Despite expressing the President’s hope as recently as last month that Hatch would remain in the Senate for a long time to come, the 83-year-old Hatch, decided that the time had come to spend more time with his family. Romney took to social media to express his gratitude for Hatch’s 40-plus years of service to Utahans, but did not mention anything about a possible Senate run.