Orrin Hatch will not seek reelection – Will this be Mitt Romney redux?

And will the Republicans now see the staid, establishment Romney, with his 5 matching non-smoking, non-drinking sons, as their party’s savior?

Orrin Hatch, senator from Utah since 1977 and the longest-serving Republican United States senator in history, will not seek re-election. He will be formally announcing today that he will step down at the end of this year. Hatch, 83, was close to Ted Kennedy during the Massachusetts senator’s life, and often  included a plea for ‘civility’ in Congress in his speeches. Recently, he has complimented Donald Trump, saying in the last few days, Trump – who shows none of the ‘civility’ Hatch claims to value, may become the ‘best president maybe ever.’

Trump has also been pressuring Hatch to stay in, if only to block the reascendance of Romney, who has been sharply critical of Trump – calling on his party to select anyone but Trump as late as March of 2016, calling out Republican super PACs and individuals like John Kasich and Ted Cruz for failing to keep the nomination from Trump, and more recently savaging Trump for appeasing racists after the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville that led to injuries and to the murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Republicans who may now also be looking at a chance at that open seat include Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and ambassador to China and current ambassador to Russia, and House members Rep. Mia Love, a Republican House member since 2015 and a speaker at the 2012 GOP convention and Rep. Jason Chaffetz. On the Democratic side, Jenny Wilson, member of Salt Lake County Council, has already declared her candidacy, though expect that field to widen now.

Nothing yet from Trump on Twitter, nor from either of our senators Cory Booker or Bob Menendez about their longtime Senate colleague across the aisle.

Photo: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

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