U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch at CPAC 2011.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has served in the United States Senate since 1977 and is the Senate’s longest-serving member. He announced on Tuesday that he would retire at the end of the year instead of seeking re-election.

Hatch in 2015 was elected as the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate. From 1993 to 2005 Hatch served as either the chair or ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He previously served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) from 1981 to 1987. He now serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

In a video released on YouTube and on Twitter Hatch, who turns 84 in March, outlined some of his major achievements while in office prior to his announcement.

He noted that President Donald Trump during his recent visit to Utah called him a fighter.

“But every good fighter knows when to hang up his gloves, and for me, that time is soon approaching. That’s why with much prayer and discussion with family and friends, I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term. Although I’ll miss serving you in the Senate, I’ll look forward to spending more time with my family and especially my sweet wife Elaine whose unwavering love and support made all of this possible. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve as your Senator these last four decades. I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter of my public service is just beginning. I want to thank you for your support these many years. May God bless you all,” he said to his constituents.

Former Massachusetts Governor and 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney, who now resides in Utah, is speculated to run as his replacement.

In October, Hatch indicated he would run for an eighth term unless his wife said no or if Romney said he would like to run. “I’ve made a decision to run, unless my friend Mitt Romney calls me, and says he’d like to run,” Hatch told Salt Lake City CBS affiliate KUTV. “Then I think I’d gladly step aside.”

Romney on Facebook thanked Hatch for his service but gave no indication whether he would in fact run.

“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. As Chairman of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and as the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history, Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor. Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors,” Romney said.

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