Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election in 2018 and will retire after serving in Congress for the past 42 years.
“When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter. I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington,” Hatch, 83, said in a video posted on Twitter. “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching.”
Hatch has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and his seat could be sought after by someone who has publicly criticized the president: Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
During the 2016 presidential election, Romney called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” in a high-profile speech where tried to persuade voters to keep him from winning the Republican nomination.
“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” he said during the speech. “He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”
Although there have been rumors of a Romney Senate run in 2018, the former governor of Massachusetts has not spoken publicly about a campaign. In a Facebook post, he thanked Hatch for his service, calling him a friend.