ST. GEORGE – Boyd Matheson, president of the Sutherland Institute, announced Monday that he will not be running for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Instead, he will be focusing his attention on the forthcoming Sutherland Leadership Institute.
Matheson originally announced in October he was considering running for Senate on the GOP ticket. This would ultimately pit him against long-serving Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, provided Hatch solidified his own plans to seek yet another term.
While considering a congressional run, Matheson met with former White House strategist Steve Bannon and others who are looking to recruit candidates to run against incumbent GOP senators, Hatch included.
“I met with influencers ranging from Steve Bannon to those who would be classified as Never Trumpers,” Matheson said in a statement issued Monday. “The common thread that emerged from all of my meetings was that the Trump loyalists and the never-Trump camps are completely united on one thing – their absolute frustration with the lack of leadership in the United States Senate.”
Instead of running for Senate, Matheson said he will be focusing on the nation’s “desperate need” for better leaders while also advancing dialogue surrounding political principles and policy.
To this end, Matheson said he is launching the nonprofit Sutherland Leadership Center.
Its mission will be “to train, support and empower elected officials, candidates, staff and engaged citizens with the strategies, structures and disciplines required to transform institutions, congressional offices and local communities.”
Matheson became the head of the conservative, Utah-based Sutherland Institute in 2016 and is a former chief of staff for Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
As for Hatch, he has yet to make any official announcement concerning plans to run for an eighth term in the Senate.
Hatch’s office has said the senator won’t make an official declaration to seek reelection or retirement until the end of the year.
Meanwhile, rumors and speculation whirls around former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney who now resides in Utah. Hatch has said he wouldn’t mind seeing Romney succeed him if his ever did step down. Romney’s also had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Vice President Joe Biden ask him to run.
There’s even an effort promoted by a Utah state senator to recruit the former governor to run for Senate.
For the moment, Hatch’s office continually refutes any claims the senator plans to retire while Romney remains quiet about the whole thing and only comments that he has nothing to say about the matter.
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