Now Politico is claiming that the former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering running for the 2018 U.S. Senate nomination in his home state of Utah.
There has been speculation that Orrin Hatch, the current senior U.S. Senator for Utah is going to retire.
Hatch’s team has denied previous reports that Hatch plans to retire and will be supporting Romney to take over as his predecessor.
“Nothing has changed since The Atlantic published a carbon copy of this same story in April, likely with the same anonymous sources who were no more informed on the senator’s thinking than they seem to be now,” said Dave Hansen, a Hatch spokesman to The Atlantic in October.
Speculation that Hatch plans to retire to make way for Romney ignited when he expressed his support for the former presidential nominee.
“I’ve expressed interest to him,” said Hatch. “I can see why he might not want to do it, but I can also see why if he did it, it would be a great thing for America.”
Hatch may not have announced his definitive plans, but according to a recent poll, 75% of Utah voters said that think he should retire.
Even if Hatch does not retire, Romney would likely still win the GOP nomination. In that same poll, 57% favored Romney in a theoretical primary against Hatch and other possible candidates.
Romney, who ran for president in both 2008 and 2012, has been seen meeting with prominent donors in Utah, along with current political leaders in the state.
“The former governor has attended the same events as influential Utah politicians including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and state Senate President Wayne Niederhauser (R). He has also campaigned for various candidates across the country, including Idaho Republican gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist,” writes The Hill.
It’s not uncommon for former presidential nominees to run for Senate seats.
“In 1968, Democrat Hubert Humphrey lost a razor-thin presidential election to Republican Richard M. Nixon. Humphrey had held political office since 1945 and showed no signs of riding off into the political sunset. Instead, the former vice president returned to his home state of Minnesota and won an open U.S. Senate seat the very next election cycle,” writes The Huffington Post.
If Romney does decide to run for Senate, he won’t be abandoning his opposing stance of President Donald Trump.
Romney and Trump have had a rocky relationship. Romney has called Trump a “phony” and “fraud” in the past, along with other unpleasant things.
The Atlantic went as far to say that Romney plans to run for Senate to “take on” Trump.
“People close to Romney say his desire to serve in the Senate now—at a time of tremendous political upheaval and widespread GOP infighting—is multi-faceted. He has told friends that he is alarmed at what he regards as the recklessness and incompetence of the Trump presidency so far, and that he’s worried about what long-term effects Trumpism could have on the Republican Party. Friends also say he is restless and eager to get off the sidelines, and that after years of losing campaigns, the prospect of an all-but-guaranteed electoral victory is extremely tempting,” writes The Atlantic.
Although Romney continues to criticize the president, he was still considered for the Secretary of State role by Trump.
“I was more than a little surprised that the president-elect reached out to me to potentially serve as secretary of state of the United States,” said Romney in a letter he wrote published in the Salt Lake Tribune in December of last year. “I see it as a welcome sign that he will be open to alternative views and even to critics.”
Author’s note: Romney would likely win the Senate seat. This wouldn’t be a bad thing either, even if he does oppose the president on a regular basis. He is perfectly qualified for the position.