Senator Orrin Hatch Announces Plan to Retire

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"I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington", he said. But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.

When Romney opposed Roy Moore, Bannon's favored candidate in last month's special election for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, Bannon hit Romney with a personal attack.

Hatch, the Senate's longest serving Republican, has wrestled with the decision for months, emboldened by the entreaties of President Donald Trump, to seek an eighth term. He is also the second-longest serving senator in the USA history.

If he does declare his candidacy, Mr Romney would be widely viewed as all but a shoo-in to snatch the seat in his home state, which is heavily populated by his fellow Mormons. In a very statesman-like way, Romney said Hatch "represented the interests of Utah" with honor and distinction. Romney would likely be among a small number of influential Republicans willing to take on Trump.

The 2o12 Republican presidential nominee has not made any definitive public statements about his plans.

In December, The Salt Lake Tribune published a scathing editorial calling on Hatch to step down - as the paper named him as "The Tribune's Utahn of the Year", noting that he has never wielded more clout.

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"I join the people of Utah in thanking my friend, Senator Orrin Hatch for his more than forty years of service to our great state and nation".

Hatch was first elected to the Senate in 1976.

Other conservatives in the state have been trying to recruit another conservative challenger to contest Romney from the right, but no candidates have yet come forward.

Brown, a liberal firebrand, said people know Republicans want to help the rich because it's "in their DNA". As the two senators talked over each other, Hatch said he was exhausted of Democrats' "bull crap". During his time on the committee, the Senate has confirmed almost 1,900 federal judges. Trump had encouraged Hatch to run for re-election.

In 2000, Hatch sought the Republican nomination for president, saying he had more experience in Washington than his opponents and insisting he could work with Democrats. He withdrew from the race after only winning 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and then endorsed George W. Bush.

Hatch frequently wrote religious songs and recorded music in his spare time as a way to relax.

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