ST. GEORGE – The longest-serving Republican in the Senate said Wednesday that he’s been asked by others to serve a little longer.
Hatch, 82, has served in the Senate since 1977 and is currently its president pro tempore, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee. While the senator had said he may not run for an eighth term in 2018, Hatch told Roll Call Wednesday that he is getting pressure to seek another term.
“I’ve got a lot of people asking me to. A lot of my colleagues are asking me to, a lot of people in Utah are asking me to,” Hatch told Roll Call. “You know that I had said that … this would be my last term, but circumstances have greatly changed, so I’ll have to look at it.”
The senator’s office was contacted by Fox 13 News following the Roll Call interview. While staff acknowledged the interview happened, they also said there was nothing new to report about Hatch’s decision to run again or not.
“I have a lot of people pressuring me to, because they know what I can do. And they know that as chairman of the Finance Committee, we make a real difference around here,” Hatch said, according to Roll Call. “I’ll honestly look at it, as much as I can.”
As a part of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and Finance Committee, Hatch could play a big part in supporting the goals of the President-elect Donald Trump’s forthcoming administration. Two of those items, Fox 13 News noted, are Supreme Court nominations and issues related to the Affordable Care Act.
While Hatch did condemn crude comments Trump made about women from 11 years ago that surfaced during the campaign, he nonetheless maintained support of the then Republican nominee.
Former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin met with Hatch Tuesday and told Fox 13 News that he may run for Hatch’s senate seat or another federal office in 2018.
McMullin, a Republican, attempted to wrestle Utah’s electoral votes from both Trump and Hillary Clinton on the chance the election would be very close, and the refusal of even six electoral votes to either candidate would deny them the needed 270 they need to win. If that happened, the final vote for who would be the next president would go to the Congress.
That did not happen as Trump took 46 percent of the vote while McMullin garnered 21 percent, according to unofficial results. Despite the loss, it is the largest showing a third-party candidate has had in the state.
If McMullin did indeed make a run for Hatch’s seat while the long-serving senator was also seeking re-election, Roll Call reported that Hatch jokingly said, “That’d be his right, but that’d be a big mistake.”
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, some Utah Republicans rumored to be eying Hatch’s seat include Attorney General Sean Reyes, former Gov. John Huntsman and state Sen. Deidre Henderson of Spanish Fork.
If Hatch does decide to run again in 2018 and secures an eighth term in the Senate, he may have accomplished something even the Biblical Methuselah (who the Bible states lived to be 969 years old) would give a nod to in terms of longevity.
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