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Situational awareness - January 3, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. I'm back from Southern California where I witnessed in person one of the most exciting Rose Bowl games ever played. Unfortunately, my beloved Oklahoma Sooners did not prevail, but the game was incredible. 

Here's what's on tap for today:

As we've been reporting for months, Sen. Orrin Hatch has decided to call it a career after 42 years and Mitt Romney appears ready to run for his seat. Hatch accomplished a lot during his storied career that spanned parts of five decades.

If Romney gets into the race, it's pretty much game over for any other candidate. Remember, Romney got 90% of the vote in the 2012 Utah GOP primary, and he won the state that year with nearly 73% of the vote.

It looks like Romney is getting ready to throw his hat in the ring. Within hours of Hatch's announcement, Romney changed the location on his Twitter account from Massachusetts to Utah. Utah Democrats are already trying to paint Romney as a carpetbagger, but they're probably going to have to do better than that. Romney has a 69% approval rating in Utah according to our polling, and he would thrash Democratic frontrunner Jenny Wilson in a head-to-head matchup.

Tick Tock:

Utah news highlights

Sen. Orrin Hatch decides to call it a career after 42 years

The longest-serving Republican Senator in history announced on Tuesday he would retire at the end of the current term, his seventh. Hatch's announcement opens the door for Mitt Romney to launch a Senate bid next year [Utah Policy]. President Donald Trump called Romney last month to discuss his interest in running for Hatch's seat if he should retire, but Romney's camp thinks Trump was trying to find out what Romney's plan was so he could thwart it [Politico].

LDS Church President Thomas Monson died Tuesday night

The 16th president of the LDS Church was 90 years old [Deseret News, Tribune]. Russell Nelson is poised to become the next Mormon prophet following Monson's passing [Tribune].

Nearly 3/4ths of Utahns say they think there will be a "major" terrorist attack in the United States during the coming year

Even though there hasn't been a big terrorist incident in the U.S. since the horrific 9/11 attacks, 72% of Utahns say they think it's likely there will be a "major" attack in the country during the next year [Utah Policy].

Don't expect Mitt Romney to join the anti-Trump resistance if he is elected to the Senate next year

Romney has been a fierce critic of President Trump, and Trump reportedly wanted Orrin Hatch to run again to keep Romney out of the Senate race, but LaVarr Webb argues Romney will get along just fine with Trump if he wins the Utah Senate race in 2018 [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

National headlines

On this day in history

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Today At Utah Policy

Most Utahns think there will be a 'major' terrorist attack on U.S. soil in 2018

Nearly three of four Utahns believe there will be a "major" terrorist attack in the U.S. in 2018, a new poll for UtahPolicy.com by Dan Jones & Associates finds....

Hatch to retire from the Senate, clearing the way for Romney to jump in the race

Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday that he was not going to seek another term in the U.S. Senate in 2018, ending months of speculation about his political future....

Romney changes his location on Twitter to Utah after Hatch's announcement

Well, it's looking more and more like Mitt Romney is getting ready to run for Utah's open Senate seat following Sen. Orrin Hatch's retirement....

My bet: Romney will disappoint a lot of Trump-haters

Since I was dead right (multiple predictions over many months) that Sen. Hatch would retire, here's another prediction: Mitt Romney will get along with Pres. Trump better than most people expect when he becomes Utah's next U.S. senator.That will be very disappointing to many...

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Congress

There's a U.S. Senate seat up for election in 2018 as well as all four U.S. House seats. Here's our list of rumored and declared candidates....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Utah Senate

2018 means another election cycle is upon us. Half of the Utah Senate seats are up for election this year, including an unexpected one because of a retirement. Here's our running list of candidates for those seats....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Utah House

Next week candidates can start gathering signatures to get on the 2018 ballot. All 75 Utah House seats are up for election this year. Here's our running list of who's in, who's out and who's challenging....

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Policy News

Should state money for UTA require governance change?
 Key Utah leaders are suggesting what not long ago was unthinkable use state money for public transit.That is a significant, and welcome, change of attitude. To this point, public transit has been mostly funded by local sales taxes, fare revenue and federal grants. The...

The time is now for tax modernization in Utah
The Salt Lake Chamber has unveiled its new campaign calling for the modernization of Utah's tax code. The Chamber believes modernizing Utah's tax code is the most critical issue facing the Legislature and must be addressed this session.Why? Because Utah's economy has changed...

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial: Cracking down on drinking but not cellphone use is nonsense

Lawmaker wants campus trustees to hire and fire Utah's college and university presidents, not state regents

National parks need money - but raising entry fees could backfire

Think crime is on the rise? In Salt Lake City, it's been dropping, serious crime especially

Sen. Orrin Hatch won't seek re-election, announces 2018 will be his last year in office

Social media reacts to Orrin Hatch's retirement announcement

Will Mitt Romney now run for seat being vacated by Orrin Hatch?

Salt Lake City's new City Council, the youngest ever, leaves the baby boomer generation behind

Rolly: Hatch is going out on top, but history will show whether he overstayed his welcome

Michelle Kaufusi takes oath of office, makes history as Provo's first female mayor

After first day of filing, 27 Utah candidates - including Rep. John Curtis - say they intend to get on the 2018 primary ballot by gathering signatures

Five reasons Sen. Orrin Hatch may be bowing out of re-election

Orrin Hatch helped shape nation's judiciary, tax system, health care and more

Deseret News

Exclusive: Sen. Orrin Hatch: Thank you, Utah

Editorial: An era in Utah politics will come to an end

Orrin Hatch is retiring. Here's what Twitter is saying - including Mitt Romney

Study puts Utah 9th for people moving out

New Salt Lake council members optimistic, outgoing leaders critical of mayor

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says it's time to 'hang up the gloves'


Tanner Ainge announces candidacy for Utah County Commission seat (Daily Herald)

Utah County Commissioners block Greg Graves from serving as chairman (Daily Herald)

Sen. Orrin Hatch announces he will retire at end of term (Daily Herald)

Editorial: After seven terms, Utah's Hatch finally hears the call (Standard-Examiner)

Weber County leaders laud Sen. Hatch's support for Hill AFB, accessibility (Standard-Examiner)

National Headlines

Congressional investigators find irregularities in FBI's handling of Clinton email case (The Hill)

'Jail!' Trump slams 'crooked' Hillary aide Huma, calls on 'Deep State' DOJ to act (FOX News)

Iran's Theocracy Is on the Brink (Wall Street Journal)

Trump Admin Working to Incubate Nascent Iranian Revolution (Washington Free Beacon)

Social media giants are wild beasts devouring freedom and democracy (Daily Mail)

Doug Jones to become only Dem senator with black chief of staff (The Hill)

Trump keeping options 'open' on Iran sanctions waiver (CNN)

Trump shocks with 12 big immigration wins, critics decry 'fewer immigrants entering US' (Washington Examiner)

Felons welcome? Fake road signs mock California's new status as 'sanctuary state' (Sacramento Bee)

Michele Bachmann tells televangelist she might run for Al Franken's Senate seat (Washington Post)

2017 sees highest murder rate ever in shrinking Baltimore (CBS News)

Wise Words

New Year Commitment

"Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans." Peter Drucker

Lighter Side

National Security

"President Trump gave a big speech on National Security. He focused on the three biggest threats to our country -- Russia, North Korea, and Omarosa." Jimmy Fallon

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