While Utah waits for Hatch’s decision, website for Hatch Foundation goes live

As the political world waits with bated breath for Sen. Orrin Hatch to make up his mind about whether he’ll run for an eighth term in 2018, a webpage for the Orrin G. Hatch foundation has popped up online. 

The placeholder website appeared online recently, although the domain was registered in 2016 according to a Whois search.

Hatch’s supporters have been raising money to fund the foundation, which will be housed at a local university, reportedly the University of Utah. The address on the temporary webpage is the same as the Kem Gardner Institute at the University of Utah, so it’s clear that the Hatch Foundation will also be housed at the Thomas Monson Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

The sudden appearance of the webpage will surely add more grist to the mill for those speculating about Hatch’s political future. The seven-term senator promised in 2012 that he would retire at the end of this term, but has since appeared to walk that promise back, saying he “intends” to run for an eighth term in 2018 if his and his wife’s health holds out. 

Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is said to be readying a run for Senate if Hatch decides to retire. However, President Donald Trump has also reportedly been encouraging Hatch to seek another term next year to keep Romney, a fierce Trump critic, from entering the race.

When reached for comment about the new webpage for the Hatch Foundation, Hatch’s political strategist, Dave Hansen, said he was not sure when the website went live.

“I deliberately haven’t been involved in the foundation side of things,” Hansen said.

The new website also lists Trent Christensen as the Director of the foundation, a position he assumed within the last two months. According to his LinkedIn profile, Christensen worked for billionaire GOP donor Foster Friess and as a regional finance director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.