The word is that Orin Hatch, the 83-year-old senator out of Utah, is planning to retire and will likely not seek reelection in 2018. It’s no surprise really – rumors surrounding Hatch’s retirement have been circling for some time now. What is surprising is the name being floated to run in his place in 2018 – Mitt Romney.
The possibility of Romney running for Senate in 2018 isn’t exactly great news for many conservatives and Trump supporters. Romney is an establishment, moderate Republican running at a time when conservatives’ tolerance for establishment, moderate Republicans is at an all-time low.
Already, we’ve seen Jeff Flake out of Arizona getting walloped in the polls by his far more conservative opponent, and Luther Strange, despite actually having the support of President Trump, lost Alabama’s special election to the much more conservative Roy Moore. A case could be made that if Romney does run for Senate in 2018 that a purist candidate will defeat him in the primary the same way that Strange and Flake were routed.
The problem with this theory is that Romney’s popularity and sway in Utah are still relatively high. This combined with the with the wealth he will no doubt have available to pour into his campaign creates the real possibility that the former presidential candidate will win at a time when other candidates like him are dropping like flies.
For now, there’s still no official word on whether or not Hatch actually intends to retire. But, speculation about the matter is becoming far more serious as time passes by.
“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,” Hatch’s spokesman said. “Senator Hatch is focused on leading the Senate’s efforts to pass historic tax reform, confirming strong judges to courts around the country, and continuing to fight through the gridlock to deliver results for Utah. He has not made a final decision about whether or not to seek reelection, but plans to by the end of the year.”
Nevertheless, this statement does not outright deny the rumor that Hatch will retire, and the general consensus is that he will likely not seek reelection. For now, Hatch retiring and Romney taking his place on the Republican ticket in Utah seems like the most likely scenario. If it does play out this way, having Romney replace Hatch could be one more obstacle for Trump and McConnell to overcome as they try to pass the aforementioned “historic tax reform” and, eventually, take another stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Romney is a RINO if there ever was one, and he has made no effort to disguise his disdain for President Trump. Having Romney in the Senate might as well be counted as another lost seat when it comes to passing key legislation that conservative voters were counting on when they elected Trump to office.
The good news is that Romney, despite his popularity in Utah, is sure to face a fight if he does run for Senate. Most conservatives have not forgiven him for his open transgressions against the party. This combined with the fact that running in Utah will make Romney the definition of a carpetbagger means that he will almost certainly face a barrage of fire from those on the right should his campaign for Senate become official. Whether this firestorm will be enough to derail Romney’s campaign and hand the Republican ticket over to a true conservative is anybody’s guess.
Hatch’s retirement and Romney’s campaign to take his place puts Trump and McConnell’s agenda on tax reform and other key issues in real peril.
Hopefully, the changing political tides that we’ve seen over the past year will continue their forward momentum and teach Romney and the rest of the establishment a valuable lesson. If not, we’re left to hope that having yet another foe in the Senate.
~ Conservative Zone