Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s announcement on his political future has been pushed back; a top advisor to Hatch is saying the senator may not declare if he’s running or not next year until the end of October.
Earlier, it had been anticipated that Hatch would say something definitive in August, perhaps September.
Political consultant Dave Hansen told UtahPolicy.com this week that “no one is pushing” Hatch to make a decision, and so he hasn’t.
Hansen said several months ago that he is proceeding with the idea that Hatch is running for an unprecedented 8thterm in the U.S. Senate “unless and until we hear otherwise.”
Hansen ran Hatch’s last two successful re-election campaigns – and was especially praised for Hatch’s 2012 effort.
Hansen said he and former Utah GOP executive director Ivan DuBois are doing consulting work for Hatch currently, with Hansen expected to be the formal campaign manager should Hatch start a real re-election effort.
Six years ago at this time, Hansen was already spending big on Hatch’s re-election campaign, having a staff of more than 20 folks helping organize possible state delegates for the March neighborhood caucus meetings.
Hansen has done nothing like that this year. In fact, there is no paid Hatch campaign staff right now.
Hansen spent over $2 million in the run up to the March 2012 GOP caucus meetings.
Nothing like that now, although the senator’s campaign account has sent out several mailers into GOP households delineating the senator’s career accomplishments, Hansen said.
UtahPolicy.com has reported that sources close to Hatch – Hansen not being one of them – say the 83-year-old senator would not run again, but retire and help run a newly-formed Hatch Foundation.
A week ago, noted Hansen, the campaign/senator held a two-day fundraiser at the luxury Montage Hotel in Deer Valley, and the next two days at the same venue the foundation held a fundraiser, as well.
UtahPolicy has reported on the Hatch Foundation previously, noting that one goal of the effort was to give Hatch serious, meaningful work should he decide to retire from the Senate – where he holds the title as the longest serving Republican senator in U.S. history.
Hansen says should Hatch go for re-election next year it is likely he would take both the signature-gathering and caucus/delegate/convention routes at the same time – thus ensuring he will be on the GOP primary ballot no matter what state delegates do.
Unfortunately for Hatch, he is at record lows in his favorability ratings, various UtahPolicy/Dan Jones & Associates polls show.
And a recent Salt Lake Tribune/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll, also by Jones, shows that 78 percent of Utahns don’t want Hatch to run again, but retire from office.
However, with a $4 million campaign war chest, high name recognition and a guaranteed path to the GOP primary ballot, Hatch would still be the odds on favorite to win in 2018.