Sutherland Institute’s Boyd Matheson not running for Senate in 2018

Boyd Matheson, the President of the Sutherland Institute, says he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Orrin Hatch next year. Matheson had toyed with the idea for a few weeks before opting not to run.

Last month word broke that Matheson had met with former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who had announced plans to recruit a primary challenger for Hatch next year. 

Instead of a Senate run, Matheson plans to launch an outside political group called the Sutherland Leadership Center, which will recruit and train candidates. He made the announcement in a video posted online.

“I have decided that I will not seek a seat in the United States Senate,” Matheson said. “Instead, I will focus my effort and attention on the desperate need in the nation for strengthening and building leaders while advancing real dialogue about the principles and policies that will create a better tomorrow for America.”

Matheson’s announcement is fueling further speculation that Mitt Romney is planning on running for Hatch’s seat next year

Hatch has not yet decided whether he will run for an eighth term in 2018, but Hatch has reportedly told close friends he plans to retire next year. Additionally, Rep. Mia Love was overheard telling a colleague that Hatch plans to retire next year