More signs that Hatch is preparing to run again in 2018, leaving Romney out in the cold

Sources close to Sen. Orrin Hatch are saying they’re detecting a shift in his attitude toward running for another term in 2018, and President Trump is the reason why.

The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins reports that Hatch is having second thoughts about running for another term next year, which would possibly freeze out Mitt Romney who has been preparing to run if Hatch retires. Associates of Romney are reportedly enraged by Hatch’s about-face, because a deal had been struck between the two men for Hatch to retire and Romney to run.

Hatch went so far as to hand-deliver a memo to Romney laying out the reasons that he should run for his seat, according to someone with direct knowledge of the document. A spokesperson for Hatch declined to comment.


In a recent meeting, Chris Hansen, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told a group of GOP political consultants that he had detected a recent shift in Hatch’s attitude toward reelection, according to a source who was present, who requested anonymity to discuss the confidential conversation. The source said Hansen speculated that Hatch might run again, serve out the remainder of his committee chairmanship, and then retire after two years.


“I’ve been encouraging Mitt to just send out a Tweet that says, ‘Orrin, thank you for encouraging me so strongly to consider running for the Senate. I have, and I’m going to do it. I couldn’t have done this without you!’” one Romney ally told me. “But Mitt’s too much of a gentleman at his core.”


Indeed, while it is widely assumed that Romney could effectively end Hatch’s career simply by throwing his hat in the ring, few people who know Romney believe he’s willing to muscle an old friend out of office like that. But within Romney’s inner circle, some are still holding out hope.


“If we get beyond the end of the year, or into January, and Hatch has still not said anything, and kind of keeps playing this game,” said one longtime Romney adviser, “I think there’s a chance that all bets are off at that point.”