Sen. Orrin Hatch is expected to announce his political future before the end of 2017 or early next year. Our "Political Insiders" think he will opt to run for an eighth term next year, but they don't think he should. 

When he ran for a seventh term in 2012, Hatch promised that would be his last go-round in Washington. However, Hatch now says he intends to run in 2018 depending on his health and the health of his wife. Hatch will be 84 at the end of this current term.

President Donald Trump reportedly is urging Hatch to run again in 2018, but some say that's to keep Mitt Romney, a harsh critic of Trump's, from running for the seat next year, which Romney would almost assuredly win. Romney is reportedly preparing to run for the Senate seat if Hatch retires. However, speculation is growing that Romney may jump into the race even if Hatch decides to try for another term.

Our "Political Insiders" say they think Hatch will decide to run for another term next year, but they believe he should honor his promise not to run again.

76% of the Republicans on our panel say Trump will run again, as do 79% of the Democrats and 77% of our readers. 

Those numbers were essentially mirrored when we asked if Hatch should run again in 2018. 77% of Republicans, 84% of Democrats and 91% of readers think Hatch should retire instead of run again.

 

Selected anonymous comments:

I campaigned hard for Hatch last go-round because he promised it would be his last term. I took him at his word. I won't campaign or vote for him again because he would be going back on his promise. 

It is time for him to be a man of his word and not run again. Jesus Christ is the only mortal who was truly irreplaceable. I like Senator Hatch but don't put him in the category of irreplaceable.

Go out on top Orrin. Otherwise, you're about to be embarrassed by Mitt.

He’s running. He doesn’t have the energy to run, but he will definitely seek another term.

He needs to retire and save the shred of respect people have for him.

Hatch needs to go, but Romney would be worse. Utah has no real options.

He will run, and he will be re-elected.

His staff will NEVER let him retire. They want to keep their jobs and the power.

He lied to the electorate. It doesn’t matter what his perceived power in the Senate is. We can never trust him.

Seniority counts in the Senate and Utah finally got some.

His duplicity regarding Trump is embarrassing. Does he represent Utah & its values or is he just a knee-jerk Trump Republican?

IMO Romney should have announced three months ago, which would have pushed Hatch out. Romney is no great shakes, but he would destroy Hatch in a primary, and Hatch has to know that. If he doesn't, Dave Hansen does. Most likely, Hatch has delayed precisely to keep any other candidate than Romney out until it is essentially too late, thus greasing the ways for his chosen successor.

He has done many great things for our state and country, but it is time to leave honorably. He is not the same as he once was and he hasn't really delivered much for Utah as Chair of the Finance Committee. Time for Mitt.

1. Hatch has displayed serious age-related issues several times. 2. He has already told Utahns this was his last term. 3. I could go on and on. 4. He has the opportunity to go out with a positive (mostly) legacy at this point. This may not be the case down the road.

Senator Hatch has done a lot of incredible things for Utah and the country, but it is time for him to retire with honor and respect for the office he holds and the people he serves. He should honor his pledge to the people of Utah and retire.

For somebody who originally ran on the basis that his opponent had been in Washington too long, he is certainly singing a different tune now.

I think he was clearing the deck for Mitt. Then again, if he continues to believe he is indispensable, then yes, he will run.

He seems completely removed from reality, so he will run, and lose. Then they'll call him "Bennett 2.0."

His ego rules his life. Right now, he gets the most exposure from being a Trump sycophant. He can't leave the limelight, so despite being way past his shelf date, he'll run.

With Romney in the wings, Hatch finally gets my vote.

I would not mind if he ran. I think he serves the state well.

It would be nice if he could bow out while he is on top and let another qualified candidate move forward to represent us.

I worked on the Senator's first campaign when he defeated Senator Moss. One of the key issues of the campaign was the need for change/new blood. After numerous transfusions, I believe its time for Senator Hatch to heed his own advice all those many years ago.

Mitt Romney should run regardless of Hatch's decision. Romney is the best electable antidote to the Trump/Bannon crowd in Washington and would represent Utah well.

Hatch will give up his Senate Seat when it is pried from his cold, dead fingers.

With the expected passage of tax reform, this is the Senator's chance to go out on top. If he runs again, he faces the possibility (though not a certainty) of being beaten in a primary by Mitt Romney or being forever tarred by his close linkage to Trump when the current administration implodes. Too much risk to what would otherwise be an amazing legacy.

I think his delay in announcing plans is aimed at delaying lame duck status.

We don’t need Hatch. We don’t need Mitt. Let’s think outside of “old” Utah. Hatch and Mitt only look out for their best interests. I’m done with established phonies. I’m a registered Republican.

It's time for a change. We need Mitt...if nothing else to stick a collective thumb in Steve Bannon's eye.